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Alfonso Cuarón Poster

Biography

Jump to: Overview (4) | Mini Bio (1) | Spouse (2) | Trade Mark (6) | Trivia (20) | Personal Quotes (15)

Overview (4)

Date of Birth 28 November 1961Mexico City, Distrito Federal, Mexico
Birth NameAlfonso Cuarón Orozco
Nickname Alfie
Height 6' (1.83 m)

Mini Bio (1)

Alfonso Cuarón Orozco was born on November 28th in Mexico City, Mexico. He has always wanted to be a director, and also an astronaut. He didn't want to enter to the army so he forgot that possibility. He wanted to make films when he was little, but unfortunately he didn't have a camera. On his twelfth birthday he finally received a camera, and since then he started to shoot everything he saw, showing it afterwards to everyone. In his teen years, films were his hobby, and he didn't have many friends. Sometimes he said to his mother he would go to a friend's home, when in fact he would go to the cinema. His ambition was to know every theatre in the city. Near his house there were two studios, Studios Churubusco and Studios 212, where he would go and try to see some interesting stuff. After finishing school, Cuarón decided to study cinema right away. He tried to study in C.C.C. (Centro de Capacitación Cinematográfica) but wasn't accepted because at the time they weren't accepting students under twenty-four years old. As his mother didn't support that idea of cinema, he started to study philosophy in the morning and in the afternoon he went to the C.U.E.C. (Centro Universitario de Estudios Cinematográficos). During that time he met many people who would later become his collaborators and friends. One of them was Luis Estrada. He also became good friends with Carlos Marcovich and Emmanuel Lubezki. Luis Estrada directed a short called "Vengance is Mine" and Alfonso and Emmanuel collaborated with him. The film was spoken in English and that didn't please the teachers of the C.U.E.C., specially Marcela Fernández Violante. It caused such arguments that in 1985, Alfonso was expelled from the university.

During his time studying in C.U.E.C. he met Mariana Elizondo, and with her he had his first son, Jonás Cuarón. After being expelled, Alfonso thought he could never be a director and so went on to work in a Museum so he could sustain his family. One day, José Luis García Agraz and Fernando CáMara went to the museum and made an offer to Cuarón. They asked him to work as cable person in "La víspera (1982)". That was his salvation. After that he was assistant director in Garcia Agraz's "Nocaut (1984)", and in some other films.

He was also second unit director in "Gaby: A True Story (1987)", and cowrote and directed some episodes in the series "A Hora Marcada (1967)". On New Year's Eve he decided he wouldn't again be an assistant director, and with his brother Carlos started writing what would be his first feature film: "Love in the Time of Hysteria (1991)" (Love in the time of Hysteria). The screenplay was written, now the problem was to get the money. I.M.C.I.N.E. (Instituto Mexicano de Cinematografia) had already decided which projects it would support that year, but the director of one of those projects was unable to direct it, so his project was canceled, and "Sólo con tu pareja" took its place. There was a lot of tension between Alfonso and the I.M.C.I.N.E. executives but after it was finished, it was a huge success and turned out to be a very good film. In Toronto festival the films won many awards, and Alfonso started to be noticed by Hollywood producers. Sydney Pollack was the first one to invite him to shoot in Hollywood. He proposed a feature film to be directed by Alfonso, but the project didn't work and was canceled. Alfonso moved to Los Angeles without anything concrete, and stayed with some friends, as he had no money. Soon after that, Pollack called him again to direct an episode called "Fallen Angels: Murder, Obliquely (1993)" of the series "Fallen Angels (1993)", that was the first job he had in U.S., and also the first time he worked with Alan Rickman.

Some time passed and Alfonso wanted to direct something as he needed money, he finally signed a contract with Warner Brothers to direct the film Addicted to Love (1995). One night he read the screenplay for the film A Little Princess (1995) and fell in love with it. He talked to Warner Brothers and after some meetings he gave up directing "Addicted to Love" in order to do "A Little Princess". Even thought it wasn't a great box office success, the film received two nominations for the Oscars, and won many other awards. After "A Little Princess" Alfonso developed for some time a project with Richard Gere starring. It was the story of a man who crosses a desert thinking he's a whale, to find the sea. The project was canceled, but Cuarón got an offer from Twentieth Century Fox to direct the modern adaptation of the Charles Dickens' classic Great Expectations (1998). He didn't want to direct it but the studio insisted, and in the end he accepted it. The experience was very painful and difficult for him mainly because there was never a definitive screenplay.

He then reunited with producer Jorge Vergara and founded Anhelo Productions and Moonson Productions. Anhelo's first picture was also Alfonso's next film, the erotic road movie "Y Tu Mamá También (2001)", which was a huge success. During the promotion of the film in Venice, Alfonso met the cinema critic Annalisa Bugliani. They started dating and are now married. "Children of Men (2006)" was to be Alfonso's next film, a futuristic, dystopian story. During the preproduction of the film, Warner Brothers invited Alfonso to direct the third Harry Potter film, "Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (2004)", and he accepted the offer after some thinking. The film was the greatest box office success of his career.

He had a beautiful daughter in 2003 called Tess Bu Cuarón, and in February 2005 another son, called Olmo Teodoro Cuarón. Alfonso Cuarón signed a three-year first-look deal with Warner Brother, which allows his films to be distributed world-wide. As a result of that deal, he has two new projects, _History of Love, The (2007)_ and _Memory of Running, The (2007)_. He is also developing another Mexican film "_México '68 (2007)_", about the violent students' revolt that happened in Mexico in 1968. He directed one five-minute segment of the anthology film Paris, je t'aime (2006)with Nick Nolte and Ludivine Sagnier. His latest project, the futuristic film Children of Men (2006) with Clive Owen, Julianne Moore and Michael Caine premiered at the Venice Film Festival in 2006 having been nominated for three Academy Awards. After his youngest son was diagnosed with autism and the divorce from Annalisa Bugliani he took a break from directing and settled in London where he plans to work on his next projects.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: huckf and Brian McInnis

Spouse (2)

Annalisa Bugliani (2001 - 2008) (divorced) (2 children)
Mariana Elizondo (1980 - 1993) (divorced) (1 child)

Trade Mark (6)

Frequently works with Emmanuel Lubezki as his director of photography
Often uses restlessly moving camera work
Use of long continuous and digitally blended shots
Often uses wide camera angles
When directing, he flashes the title of the movie both at the beginning and at the end of all of his films.
Often uses hand-held cameras

Trivia (20)

Brother of Carlos Cuarón.
He had never read any of the Harry Potter books when he was offered to direct the third film.
He turned down the chance to direct Addicted to Love (1997) to work instead on A Little Princess (1995).
He was the mentor of actor/director Dean Paraskevopoulos.
He was set to write/direct the film Hart's War (2002) but when production was about to begin he decided to do Y Tu Mamá También (2001) instead.
He is friends with singer Ian Brown and offered to direct one of his future videos.
After divorcing from his ex-wife,Annalisa Bugliani, he moved from New York where they lived with their children, and now lives in London.
He was the original director of the film The Perez Family (1995), but pulled out before production started.
He was attached to direct Life of Pi (2007), but due to the production of Children of Men (2006), he had to step aside the director's chair. 'Jean- Pierre Jeunet' replaced him.
He has never read the novel 'The Children of Men' by P.D. James in which is film Children of Men (2006) is based on.
He became attached to direct the film Runaway Jury (2003) but after a few months he left the project.
He's a fan of Tim Burton.
Was attached to direct Speed Racer (2008) with Johnny Depp in lead, but the job went to Wachowski brothers.
Member of the jury at the Cannes Film Festival in 2008.
When he accepted the Golden Globe award for Best Director in 2014 for Gravity (2013), Cuaron apologized for his poor English, especially to his star Sandra Bullock, for scaring her on location during production when he said what sounded like, " I'm going to give you herpes" when he actually had said, in his thick Spanish accent, "I'm going to give you [an] ear piece.".
Directed Sandra Bullock to an Oscar nomination for Gravity (2013).
He is the first Mexican-born director to win the Oscar for Best Director, achieving the feat for Gravity (2013).

Personal Quotes (15)

What's the point of being an Australian guy traveling through India if you are going to go to India to meet other Australians?
I believe that human beings are born first and given passports later. I'm really thankful for my journey. And it's a journey I didn't design.
The only reason you make a movie is not to make or set out to do a good or a bad movie, it's just to see what you learn for the next one.
Most of cinema nowadays is about shooting a lot and then figuring it out in the cutting room, rather than seeing your film it the head and see what's in your head and not shoot what you have already envisioned in your head.
When people see some depth you never intended that's really cool, you just put on a face and say "Oh, yeah, that was deep". What are you going to say? I'm just a moron with luck?
When you work with kids, people tell you to be very delicate, but that's the last thing you should do with kids. They feel patronized if you're like that. They just want you to be normal.
(Thoughts on the one film (or films) that made him want to become a filmmaker and why): There was no epiphany from one film. There were a few that stood out over the years. I was 8 when I saw Bicycle Thieves (1948), and it was the first black-and-white film I had ever seen. It triggered my curiosity to start seeing European cinema. When I was 7, I saw The Making of 'Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid' (1970). Hearing George Roy Hill talk about all the choices he made, I knew that directing movies was what I wanted to do. I remember seeing Death and Venice 40 times one year, and then switching my allegiance to Godard after seeing Masculine/Feminine! I knew early on that I was a nerd and that films were my refuge. Those first few minutes before the lights went off, and you're alone in the theater waiting, were really pleasurable. Whether it was Steve McQueen, the coolest guy in cinema, to Robert Altman's strange and wonderful 3 Women (1977), I saw hundreds of films before I ever picked up a camera. I believe I took something away from each one.
There are fewer established rules in the way you tell a story for commercials than in features,it's a great little short story you get to play with.
If I would rescue one of my movies, it would be A Little Princess.
[on 'Gravity'] The camera is a third astronaut, and that astronaut is the audience. The audience is floating in space, following these characters who are bonded by the loss of physics in zero gravity, floating and rolling and spinning. The idea is to immerse the audience so that your emotional experience is projected onto the screen in a primal way.
[on directing 'Gravity'] There were times when it felt as though everything and everyone was conspiring against the process. But the thing about adversities is that they force you out of your comfort zone. The bad outcome is that you might drift into the void, but the other outcome is that you might gain amazing tools for growth and knowledge.
They ask if I'm happy and elated by 'Gravity's success. For me, it's like the fox who has been chased by hounds for four and a half years, and then the fox gets away. Is the fox happy? The fox is happy when he's frolicking with another fox, playing with the cubs in the meadow, mating, but when he escapes it's just relief. That's not happiness.
The most important thing for us is that all of this stuff, and all of this technology, are only tools to achieve the cinematic experience and cinematic moment. For us, the conceptual aspect behind it and the theoretical aspect of what we were trying to convey was more important. All of the technology was in service of that.
[on the physicality of Sandra Bullock's performance] It was more like a dancer really with choreography, because it just wasn't marks, it was about timing. So it was very complex and I'm amazed at what she did.
Tim [Webber] came to me with the idea 'let's do it mainly CG', and I went 'no way..that's going to suck. We're going to do it as much practical as we can'. So we tried the conventional rigs and stuff. We tried cables and twisted arms and stuff, and I think it was three hours into the first day that it was so obvious that it wouldn't work.. And there's another thing. Wires give you this axis when you're rolling, and we needed several axises, so the wires weren't going to do it.. We wanted to give it a photo-real look from the first minute. I remember saying that when we finished the film I wanted NASA to call us and say they were suing us for putting cameras in their ships.

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