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Dan O'Bannon Poster

Biography

Jump to: Overview (4) | Mini Bio (1) | Spouse (1) | Trivia (5) | Personal Quotes (7)

Overview (4)

Date of Birth 30 September 1946St. Louis, Missouri, USA
Date of Death 17 December 2009Los Angeles, California, USA  (Crohn's disease)
Birth NameDaniel Thomas O'Bannon
Height 5' 6" (1.68 m)

Mini Bio (1)

Dan O'Bannon was inspired at an early age by EC Comics like Tales from the Crypt and old horror films that he saw in St. Louis. He even wrote a few stories for Heavy Metal magazine (which also showed up in the film).

O'Bannon got his start when he and John Carpenter collaborated on the cult sci-fi film Dark Star (1974). After a failed attempt to make "Dune" with bizarre surrealist Alejandro Jodorowsky in Europe, O'Bannon returned to the US and began work on "Star Beast" (later retitled Alien (1979)) with Ronald Shusett (with whom he later worked again on Dead & Buried (1981)). He continued working in the Sci-fi/Horror genre mostly as a script doctor, but his directorial debut, The Return of the Living Dead (1985) is known as one of the best zombie movies ever made (and as of this writing two sequels with another in production). Lately O'Bannon has been appearing in a lot of DVD documentaries discussing his work and his influences. It is also worth noting that all of his films have interesting psychological interpretations. He has a tendency to appear in bow ties.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: Jeff Gittel

Spouse (1)

Diane Louise Lindley (18 January 1986 - 17 December 2009) (his death) (1 child)

Trivia (5)

Dan O'Bannon had been working on the screenplay for Screamers (1995) as early as 1981. The October 10, 1984, draft credits Michael Campus as co-writer. It is unknown whether Campus also intended to direct.
O'Bannon and John Carpenter attended USC together; the result of their meeting each other in college was the low-budget cult science-fiction parody Dark Star (1974), which started out as a student movie and was eventually expanded into a theatrical feature.
Has one son, Adam.
O'Bannon was reputed to suffer debilitating stress-induced stomach aches (which some detractors attributed to hypochondria). Upon his death, Diane O'Bannon revealed that her husband had been managing Crohn's Disease for about thirty years.
He was considered one of the most brilliant, if volcanic, alumni of the USC film school.

Personal Quotes (7)

[talking about Total Recall (1990)] Verhoeven has moments. He's talented and he does have some grand sci-fi visual things to see from time to time, but he's a very flawed director and Total Recall had a lot of pitfalls for him and he fell in most of them. In particular, whenever he started to flounder and didn't know what to do, he would start throwing in violence. He'd say bring in all the rubber body parts and the blood hoses and everything and we'll start ripping people to shreds and squirt blood everywhere. And he'd keep shooting that until he overcame his nerves and got his feet on the ground and would start directing in some reasonable way again. So you'd end up with these intermittent scenes of absurdly excessive maimings at sort of intervals, and usually what he was substituting for were scenes that involved humor in the original [script]. And I realized, 'Oh, he's not good at humor. He doesn't know how to tell a joke onscreen.' Too bad, because some of the important stuff he did very well on Total Recall. It had grand moments.
The one that was certainly best directed, far and away above the rest, was Alien. Ridley Scott's directorial thing there was absolutely wonderful. I haven't had another director equal it.
[talking about Lifeforce (1985)] The performances too could have been computer generated, it probably would have been a great improvement. We had the one and only Tobe Hooper at the helm which is approximately like having Bozo the Clown at the helm.
It's been said over and over gain by writers of scary stories that a writer can't scare a reader unless that writer scares himself or herself first. So, you can't excite anyone in the audience unless you're excited writing the script! You're taking yourself for a ride before you take the audience for a ride!
With "Alien", I figured out quite simply that, as an audience member, what you DON'T see scares you more than what you see. In horror films, the scares that really grab the audience and build the tension for them don't come from the monster jumping out of the shadows! The terror comes from the slow times in between those pay-off scenes in which the characters are talking and planning -- waiting for something to jump out at them!
I have a low boredom threshold. Some writers can write the same thing over and over again and remain happy with that. However, I only enjoy doing something that I have not done before. If I've done it well, I don't want to do it anymore. Once I know how to do something, it loses interest for me. I don't care anymore.
Hollywood is just a machine, they have a process. There's this standing assumption among producers and studios that no script is any good. Every script that they buy or have written must be rewritten by several other authors before they will film it. The trouble is most producers have no judgment. Therefore, if a given draft of a script is excellent and filmable, they can't tell or won't make the mental effort to determine it. They automatically have it rewritten. Since most scripts in Hollywood are truly wretched, this process has a homogenizing effect and improves it. But if the script is really, really good, the process will lower its quality.

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