Chris Hanley Poster


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Chris Hanley is best known for producing landmark films with independent spirit and popular reach which include Spring Breakers (2012), American Psycho (2000), and The Virgin Suicides (1999). They are often breakthrough films for the artists involved as well as items of enduring cultural value. The 38 produced titles over Hanley's 23 year career cover an array of genres and include two documentaries features (Oliver Stone's South of the Border (2009) and Castro in Winter (2012)) and the Showtime docuseries The Untold History of the United States (2012).

Hanley was educated in English literature and philosophy (philosophy of the mind, artificial intelligence, mathematical physics) at Amherst College and Oxford for additional coursework. Hanley was a visiting scholar in philosophy at Columbia University and did postgraduate studies at the Rockefeller Institute in mathematics. From studies in pioneering neurological research on mind-brain identity, Turing machines and neural network algorithms including effects of music on neural pathways, Hanley seamlessly migrated to music production, forming Intergalactic Music in New York (from his own electronic music recording work at Hampshire College). Intergalactic became the studio that first introduced digital synthesis into pop recording artists, eventually earning a gold record for Afrika Bambaataa's "Planet Rock" which was the advent of electronic rap music. Hanley brought Intergalactic to the forefront of music production recording artists such as Ronnie Wood and Keith Richards, Bob Dylan, Leonard Cohen, Billy Idol, The Tibetan Monks of The Dalai Lama (on the 24 track), Bobby Brown, and recorded two albums of the Ramones.

In 1984, Hanley entered the burgeoning field of music video, forming Rock Video International and distributed music videos for the first time to Japan; his pioneering efforts included later bringing music videos to the U.S.S.R and to the rest of the Eastern Bloc for the first time in history. Hanley is later known as the father of karaoke in the West. Not only did Hanley and his RVI make history by first bringing music videos to all Asia, the Soviet and Eastern Bloc, but soon after he introduced the Japanese phenomenon of karaoke to the Western world, making the first Western audio and music videos the USA, England, Europe and then onto Africa and the Middle East had ever seen. The American and British productions involved 25 directors and 250 studio musicians in the filming of 1000 video clips and 1000 music publishing licenses. Hanley segued from one visual arts medium to another when he founded Art Associates in 1987 originally to bring to market the art of Andy Warhol who he was friends with through the music studio and Jean Michel Basquiat who Hanley played music with in the New York underground music scene. By 1990, Art Associates was known internationally for representing to collectors the biggest names in contemporary art such as Warhol, Basquiat, Richard Prince, Damien Hirst, Julian Schnabel, Edward Ruscha, Roy Lichtenstein, and Keith Haring, who he was friends with.

Hanley founded Muse Productions with his wife Roberta Hanley in 1991. Its first outing was the sci-fi actioner Split Second (1992). Starring Rutger Hauer and Kim Cattrall, and featuring special effects by Stephen Norrington of Aliens (1986) fame, the film (directed by The Burning (1981)'s Tony Maylam) has gone on to achieve cult status. Hanley's first producing venture while based in Venice Beach, California was a collaboration with Oliver Stone and Reese Witherspoon on the film Freeway (1996) from former Mystic Knights of the Oingo Boingo first-time director and screenwriter Matthew Bright, a cult favorite updating of Little Red Riding Hood costarring Kiefer Sutherland. Right behind that by two weeks, Chris Hanley then began work with Steve Buscemi on the actor's directorial debut Trees Lounge (1996) which starred Buscemi, Chloë Sevigny and Samuel L. Jackson. Released in 1996, the film earned Buscemi, Hanley and producer Brad Wyman Independent Spirit Award nominations for Best First Feature.

Thus began the dominant threads of Hanley's career an eye for fresh and engaging material and a track record of films generating both stars and controversy, sometimes reviving the then slow-paced careers of today's leading names Robert Downey Jr., Christian Bale, and Mickey Rourke. Nineteen ninety-seven's sexually-charged relationship drama Two Girls and a Guy (1997) (written and directed by James Toback and starring Robert Downey Jr. and Heather Graham) made industry headlines not only when it received an NC-17 rating before being re-cut nine times for an R rating for its theatrical release by Fox Searchlight but more for the fact that Downey Jr., straight from his jail sentence, showed that he still had the stuff of acting legend. Hanley garnered another Independent Spirit Award nomination, shared with Vincent Gallo, for producing the divisive actor 's directorial debut Buffalo '66 (1998). The Virgin Suicides (1999), which Hanley produced with Francis Ford Coppola, was a breakthrough for its director and star, first-time helmer Sofia Coppola and Kirsten Dunst. Hanley through his New York art crowd got introduced to Bret Easton Ellis and brought to the screen American Psycho (2000). The film that put Christian Bale on the map (and also starred Reese Witherspoon, Willem Dafoe, Chloë Sevigny, Justin Theroux, Jared Leto, and Josh Lucas) re-sparked discussion over depictions of violence against women and the male-dominated Wall St. and the obfuscation of the American Dream, a theme revisited again on a different turf in Hanley's 2013 release of auteur Harmony Korine's _Spring Breakers (2012)_. The controversy that had surrounded the source novel by Easton Ellis, at one time dropped by its publisher and banned from 70% of bookstores in the USA, was once again part of the national conversation. The same year Hanley produced Bully (2001), a return to form for its director Larry Clark (Kids (1995)) and which starred Bijou Phillips, Michael Pitt, Kelli Garner, Nick Stahl, Leo Fitzpatrick, and the late Brad Renfro. The year 2003 saw the release of: Spun (2002), the first feature by Jonas Åkerlund (of banned "Smack My Bitch Up" music video fame and later Lady Gaga clip helmer) which starred Jason Schwartzman, Brittany Murphy, Mickey Rourke, Mena Suvari, and John Leguizamo. Next up was Gaspar Noé's Irreversible (2002), which Hanley distributed in the United States using the distribution pipeline he formed with Lionsgate on American Psycho. Theaters showing this film displayed "no refund" signs in box office windows, egging on squeamish audiences. The release of 2004's _The Heart is Deceitful Above All Things (2004)_ (directed by and starring Asia Argento sparked the "coming out" of noted author Laura Albert from the pseudonymous persona of J.T. Leroy and landmark legal issue ensued over authorship identity. In 2005, Hanley collaborated with renowned playwright and Oscar-nominated screenwriter David Mamet and horror maestro director Stuart Gordon on Edmond (2005), adapted by Mamet from his play and starring William H. Macy and Julia Stiles. Hanley was a producer on Hounddog (2007) which made entertainment news headlines stemming from its portrayal by Dakota Fanning of a rape victim in her first "adult" role.

Hanley opened the following decade with a bang. Premiering at the Sundance Film Festival, The Killer Inside Me (2010) (directed by Michael Winterbottom and starring Casey Affleck, Jessica Alba, and Kate Hudson) prompted walkouts and outcries due to its realistic depictions of psychological misanthropic violence faithful to the Jim Thompson source novel.

Hanley continues to work with the world's leading filmmakers producing films including Fernando Meirelles and Peter Morgan's 360 (2011) starring Jude Law, Rachel Weisz, and Ben Foster; Oliver Stone's South of the Border (2010); Nick Cassavetes's Yellow (2012) with Ray Liotta, Sienna Miller, Melanie Griffith, David Morse, and Gena Rowlands, and Harmony Korine's Spring Breakers (2012), starring James Franco, Selena Gomez, and Vanessa Hudgens; and again with Oliver Stone again as he is producing a documentary about Vladimir Putin on his home turf of Moscow and throughout the world including the United Nations. His latest feature as producer is London Fields (2017), directed by Mathew Cullen and starring Amber Heard, Jim Sturgess, Theo James, and Billy Bob Thornton based on the bestselling novel by Martin Amis, which again has triggered legal issues of authorship and identity in a worldwide media forum.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: Staff of Muse Productions

Spouse (1)

Roberta Hanley (? - present)

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