Paul Thomas Anderson Poster


Jump to: Overview (3)  | Mini Bio (1)  | Spouse (1)  | Trade Mark (13)  | Trivia (38)  | Personal Quotes (25)

Overview (3)

Born in Studio City, California, USA
Nickname P.T.
Height 5' 10½" (1.79 m)

Mini Bio (1)

Anderson was born in 1970. He was one of the first of the "video store" generation of film-makers. His father was the first man on his block to own a V.C.R., and from a very early age Anderson had an infinite number of titles available to him. While film-makers like Spielberg cut their teeth making 8 mm films, Anderson cut his teeth shooting films on video and editing them from V.C.R. to V.C.R.

Part of Anderson's artistic D.N.A. comes from his father, who hosted a late night horror show in Cleveland. His father knew a number of oddball celebrities such as Robert Ridgely, an actor who often appeared in Mel Brooks' films and would later play "The Colonel" in Anderson's Boogie Nights (1997). Anderson was also very much shaped by growing up in "The Valley", specifically the suburban San Fernando Valley of greater Los Angeles. The Valley may have been immortalized in the 1980s for its mall-hopping "Valley Girls", but for Anderson it was a slightly seedy part of suburban America. You were close to Hollywood, yet you weren't there. Would-bes and burn-outs populated the area. Anderson's experiences growing up in "The Valley" have no doubt shaped his artistic self, especially since three of his four theatrical features are set in the Valley.

Anderson got into film-making at a young age. His most significant amateur film was The Dirk Diggler Story (1988), a sort of mock-documentary a la This Is Spinal Tap (1984), about a once-great pornography star named Dirk Diggler. After enrolling in N.Y.U.'s film program for two days, Anderson got his tuition back and made his own short film, Cigarettes & Coffee (1993). He also worked as a production assistant on numerous commercials and music videos before he got the chance to make his first feature, something he liked to call Hard Eight (1996), but would later become known to the public as "Hard Eight". The film was developed and financed through The Sundance Lab, not unlike Quentin Tarantino's Reservoir Dogs (1992). Anderson cast three actors whom he would continue working with in the future: Altman veteran Philip Baker Hall, the husky and lovable John C. Reilly and, in a small part, Philip Seymour Hoffman, who so far has been featured in all four of Anderson's films. The film deals with a guardian angel type (played by Hall) who takes down-on-his-luck Reilly under his wing. The deliberately paced film featured a number of Anderson trademarks: wonderful use of source light, long takes and top-notch acting. Yet the film was reedited (and retitled) by Rysher Entertainment against Anderson's wishes. It was admired by critics, but didn't catch on at the box office. Still, it was enough for Anderson to eventually get his next movie financed. "Boogie Nights" was, in a sense, a remake of "The Dirk Diggler Story", but Anderson threw away the satirical approach and instead painted a broad canvas about a makeshift family of pornographers. The film was often joyous in its look at the 1970s and the days when pornography was still shot on film, still shown in theatres, and its actors could at least delude themselves into believing that they were movie stars. Yet "Boogie Nights" did not flinch at the dark side, showing a murder and suicide, literally in one (almost) uninterrupted shot, and also showing the lives of these people deteriorate, while also showing how their lives recovered.

Anderson not only worked with Hall, Reilly and Hoffman again, he also worked with Julianne Moore, Melora Walters, William H. Macy and Luis Guzmán. Collectively, Anderson had something that was rare in U.S. cinema: a stock company of top-notch actors. Aside from the above mentioned, Anderson also drew terrific performances from Burt Reynolds and Mark Wahlberg, two actors whose careers were not exactly going full-blast at the time of "Boogie Nights", but who found themselves to be that much more employable afterwards.

The success of "Boogie Nights" gave Anderson the chance to really go for broke in Magnolia (1999), a massive mosaic that could dwarf Altman's Nashville (1975) in its number of characters.

Anderson was awarded a "Best Director" award at Cannes for Punch-Drunk Love (2002).

- IMDb Mini Biography By: Nathan Cox and Brian McInnis

Spouse (1)

Maya Rudolph (2001 - ?) ( 4 children)

Trade Mark (13)

[Camel cigarettes] All smoking characters in Anderson's early movies smoke Camel cigarettes - Philip Baker Hall smokes Camel Filters in Hard Eight (1996), William H. Macy smokes Camel Lights in Magnolia (1999).
Frequently uses the Iris In/Out film technique. This technique has one part of the scene encircled, while the rest is black. Also used during the silent film era as a way of opening and closing shots.
Frequently uses extended takes
Most of his early films are set in the San Fernando Valley, California
Most of his early films feature large ensemble casts, often featuring Philip Baker Hall, John C. Reilly, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Luis Guzmán, and/or Melora Walters.
Often shoots very wide angles and moving tracking shots
His films often have family relationships as a major theme
Use of religious imagery and references
His characters often feel out of place in Their time
His films often revolve around heavily flawed, self-destructive yet sympathetic characters
Often has films end abruptly or on unusual notes
Dark, surreal sense of humor

Trivia (38)

Father, Ernie Anderson, was a local celebrity in Cleveland, where he hosted horror shows using the name "Ghoulardi".
Lived in Los Angeles, USA with girlfriend Fiona Apple. He directed Apple in the video for her cover of "Across the Universe", which was part of the soundtrack for the movie, Pleasantville (1998).
Dropped out of NYU's film program after two days. Subsequently got his tuition payment back and used the money to make Cigarettes & Coffee (1993).
He shaves his head before SOME productions. He did not shave his head before the production of Magnolia (1999), as evidenced in the documentary on the DVD.
His favorite all-time film is The Treasure of the Sierra Madre (1948).
For the brief time he was at NYU film school, he handed in some of Pulitzer Prize-winner David Mamet's work as his own. When he got it back with a "C" grade he decided to leave.
Tom Cruise got him on to the set of Eyes Wide Shut (1999). He spent the day there and got to talk to Stanley Kubrick.
Despite the constant comparison between them amongst fans, he and fellow director Quentin Tarantino are great friends. Furthermore, Tarantino has praised Anderson's work, calling him a "filmmaking artist.".
Is a big fan of Adam Sandler and his movies.
Has 4 children: daughters, Pearl Minnie Anderson (b. October 15, 2005) & Lucille Anderson (b. November 6, 2009), son, Jackson Wright "Jack" Anderson (b. July 3, 2011) and daughter, Minnie Ida Anderson (b. August 1, 2013) with girlfriend, Maya Rudolph.
Cites Martin Scorsese and Jonathan Demme as his biggest influences and considers both to be the greatest American film directors.
Was employed as a standby director for A Prairie Home Companion (2006) for insurance purposes, and in the event that ailing 80-year-old director Robert Altman was unable to finish shooting.
Attended Emerson College in Boston, Mass.
Directed 8 actors in Oscar-nominated performances: Burt Reynolds, Julianne Moore, Tom Cruise, Daniel Day-Lewis (twice), Joaquin Phoenix, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Amy Adams and Lesley Manville. Day-Lewis won the Best Actor Oscar for his performance in There Will Be Blood (2007).
Fan and personal friend of Aimee Mann. He used the song "Christmastime" performed by Mann in Hard Eight (1996), and many of her songs in the Magnolia (1999) soundtrack.
Is a big fan of Major League Baseball. His favorite teams are his hometown Los Angeles Dodgers and his late father's favorite team, the Boston Red Sox.
Over the 7 movies he has directed/wrote; he has directed 7 actors to an Oscar Nomination. This equates to an Oscar Nomination for Acting for every movie he has made.
Sam Mendes calls him "a true auteur".
Time magazine compared There Will Be Blood (2007) to "the greatest achievements" of D.W. Griffith and John Ford.
Once described Magnolia (1999) as "for better or worse, the best movie I'll ever make".
Cites Martin Scorsese, Robert Altman, Jonathan Demme, Stanley Kubrick, Orson Welles, and Max Ophüls as his main influences as a filmmaker.
A longtime Thomas Pynchon devotee.
His English teacher at Emerson College was renowned writer David Foster Wallace. Anderson has described him as the only teacher he ever loved, and stated in an interview with Marc Maron that his dropping out of Emerson College after a year was largely due to Wallace having left.
Got the initial idea for Hard Eight (1996) after watching Philip Baker Hall in Midnight Run (1988) according to a 2008 'Esquire' article: "In the summer of 1988, for example, when Midnight Run (1988) came out. It was a fairly formulaic action-comedy, and Martin Brest wasn't even close to Anderson's pantheon of cool directors, but one thing caught his eye: a little-known actor named Philip Baker Hall. In four very brief scenes, Hall plays a Las Vegas consigliere who keeps trying to convince his godfather not to whack people. His name was Sidney. "I don't think you should do this," he says in one scene. In another, he uses the curiously formal diction that seems to have hit Anderson in the place where he vibrates to the rhythms of David Mamet: "I'm supposed to advise you against such acts."".
Was described as 'his evil twin bother' by Daniel Day-Lewis when Day-Lewis was accepting the Critics' Choice Award for best actor for his performance in There Will Be Blood in 2008.
He is the only Director to win a best director prize at each of the big European film festivals. He won at Cannes for Punch Drunk Love, at Berlin for There Will be Blood, and at Venice for The Master.
Attended Santa Monica College, Emerson College and New York University.
(As of 2018) The movie of his that he is the most proud of is The Master (2012).
As of 2018, he has directed 2 films that have been Oscar nominated for Best Picture: There Will Be Blood (2007) and Phantom Thread (2017).
He has expressed an interest in making a film adaptation of the DC Comics series Teen Titans.
He dropped out of film school after the teacher in his first lecture claimed that anyone who wants to make a film like Terminator 2: Judgement Day (1991) should leave immediately.
He has a strong dislike of jokes about cancer after his father died from it.
Inducted into the Texas Film Hall of Fame on March 8, 2018 in Austin, Texas.
Born on the same date as Chris O'Donnell.
He is a huge fan of Robert Downey Sr and has cited him as a major influence.
Close friends with Christopher Nolan.
He is a fan of comic book films, especially Christopher Nolan's Dark Knight trilogy.

Personal Quotes (25)

I have a feeling, one of those gut feelings, that I'll make pretty good movies the rest of my life. And maybe I'll make some clunkers, maybe I'll make some winners, but I guess the way that I really feel is that Magnolia (1999) is, for better or worse, the best movie I'll ever make.
My dad was one of the first guys on the block to have a VCR. So along with all the videotapes that I would rummage through, I would find porno movies. Not that it twisted me into some maniac or anything. I was watching porno from age 10 to 17. I had an interest in it.
I had older brothers and sisters who were doing drugs and playing rock music and doing all those insane things. I was watching.
You can really see a strong and distinctive line between '70s and '80s porn, not just in the quality but in the spirit behind it.
Today's movie villains often remind us of James Cagney and Humphrey Bogart and that's as cool as it gets. There's something comforting if they're hip and cool. They're not entirely real, or not entirely threatening, so it might be a little easier to swallow if they remind us of traditional movie villains.
I watch [Steven Spielberg] movies, and know: Those are fairy tales. I understand what he does. And I make a film on cancer and frogs - however I want that many spectators nevertheless! I find that is a good goal, and I consider it a weakness of mine that I haven't reached it yet.
All I wanna try and do is sing "Melancholy Baby", y'know, but then it starts to come out like "The Star Spangled Banner" half the time.
[on the meaning of Magnolia (1999)'s ending] Oh, how I hate it, when directors are supposed to explain their films. I only say this much: If I had had more cash, I would have let it rain cats and dogs.
[on the popular belief that Daniel Day-Lewis is indifferent or not completely committed to remaining an actor] That is an amazing misconception. Daniel loves acting so much that it becomes a quest for perfection. People don't know how Daniel can do this job the way that he does it, and my feeling is, I just can't understand how anyone could do it any other way.
[on researching for There Will Be Blood (2007)] After a few trips to Bakersfield, where they have museums devoted to the early oilmen, I started to get a sense of the film. The museums are largely trailers with a lot of oil equipment lying around the yard. Back in the day, enough people had cameras and they took a lot of pictures. Oil fields were an interesting thing to photograph, and that research made it easy to put the pieces of their times together.
[on buying a copy of Upton Sinclair's "Oil!", which he adapted into There Will Be Blood (2007)] I was homesick and the book had a painting of California on the cover.
All of life's questions and answers are in The Treasure of the Sierra Madre (1948). It's about greed and ambition and paranoia and looking at the worst parts of yourself. When I was writing There Will Be Blood (2007), I would put "The Treasure of the Sierra Madre" on before I went to bed at night, just to fall asleep to it.
I remember the bad outfits my parents dressed me up in and my Beatles haircut but I never watched The Brady Bunch (1969). The Partridges? I hated their music.
No matter how many times you do it, you don't get used to the sadness - for me at least - of coming to the end of a film.
[on Stanley Kubrick] We're all children of Kubrick, aren't we? Is there anything you can do that he hasn't done?
On Stanley Kubrick: It's so hard to do anything that doesn't owe some kind of debt to what Stanley Kubrick did with music in movies. Inevitably, you're going to end up doing something that he's probably already done before. It always seem like we're falling behind whatever he came up with. Singin' in the Rain (1952) in A Clockwork Orange (1971) - that was the first time I became so aware of music in movies. So no matter how hard you try to do something new, you're always following behind.
I really subscribe to that old adage that you should never let the audience get ahead of you for a second. So if the film's abrasive and wrongfoots people then, y'know, that's great. But I hope it involves an audience. If not, that's my fuck-up.
Well I'd really love to work with Robert De Niro, because he's still the most talented actor out there. Maybe he makes some bad choices, which can be frustrating. On the one hand, you want to say, 'What the fuck's going on?' On the other, you can't get mad at him for wanting to work, because most actors would be murderers if they weren't working.
[on Robert Altman] I knew him pretty well, off and on for about 10 years, but I had gotten to know him particularly well in the last three or four years. I got to watch Bob navigate that film, and I watched how good he was at evading questions, in the best way. He was really good at not committing himself too early to something. He didn't impose his will early. He loved to work with people. He loved to see what they came up with. He would give things time to settle, to rise or to fall, and watching him do that was a great lesson in patience. Because at the end of the day, he invited everybody in to work on this film, but he ended up getting exactly what he wanted, and everyone else felt that they had been part of it, because they had. They really made the film with Bob. How he did that was a lesson to me.
Screenwriting is like ironing. You move forward a little bit and go back and smooth things out.
[on Inherent Vice (2014)] It has great paranoia, which you must have if you're doing a Pynchon book. But most of all it seemed to be a way to address something that's prevalent in all his books; that outlandish spirit, the humor, the nostalgia - that kind of sweet, dripping aching for the past.
[on writing realistic dialogue for characters who are using cocaine] I've done a lot of coke and had those insane conversations.
[on Joaquin Phoenix] He's like a dog that will fetch the ball over and over and over again. You can throw it down the cliff, you can throw it into the snow, you can throw it in the ocean, and he will go get the ball and bring it back. And he will curl up in your lap and keep you warm by the fire. He's the best dog I've ever had.
When writing ain't working, research. When research ain't working, sleep. Getting away is so valuable. I didn't know that for years and years. I used to bang my head against the wall, trying to fix a problem. No one ever grabbed me by the shoulder and said, "Maybe you should go for a walk." [2018]
I love Big Daddy (1999). Big Daddy (1999) had Sensitive Sandler; there's a scene in it where he's screaming at his father over the telephone that I used to rewind over and over. That's when I really thought, 'I have to find this person. I have to work with this person'.

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