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John Boorman Poster

Biography

Jump to: Overview (3)  | Mini Bio (1)  | Spouse (2)  | Trade Mark (2)  | Trivia (21)  | Personal Quotes (15)

Overview (3)

Born in Rosehill, Carshalton, Surrey, England, UK
Nickname Titch
Height 5' 8" (1.73 m)

Mini Bio (1)

John Boorman attended Catholic school (Salesian Order) although his family was not, in fact, Roman Catholic. His first job was for a dry-cleaner. Later, he worked as a critic for a women's journal and for a radio station until he entered the television business, working for the BBC in Bristol. There, he started as assistant but worked later as director on documentaries, such as The Newcomers (1964). His friendship with Lee Marvin allowed him to work in Hollywood (e.g. Point Blank (1967) and Hell in the Pacific (1968)) from where he returned to the UK (e.g. Leo the Last (1970), Zardoz (1974) or Exorcist II: The Heretic (1977)). He became famous for Excalibur (1981), The Emerald Forest (1985) and his autobiographic story Hope and Glory (1987) where he tells his own experiences as a child after World War II and which brought him another Academy Award Nomination after Deliverance (1972).

- IMDb Mini Biography By: Volker Boehm

Spouse (2)

Isabella Weibrecht (1997 - present) ( 3 children)
Christel Kruse Boorman (1957 - ?) ( divorced) ( 4 children)

Trade Mark (2)

Usually has a shot in his movies of a hand emerging from a body of water holding a weapon.
Dream sequences with surreal or psychedelic imagery.

Trivia (21)

Attended Catholic school (Salesian Order) although his family was not Roman Catholic. Apparently his parents thought that Catholic school teachers would be less likely to be drafted into WWII.
He is President of the Young Irish Film Makers, a youth based film training organisation based in Kilkenny, Ireland.
2004: Awarded the fellowship of the British Film Academy.
Said he cast Nicol Williamson and Helen Mirren as Merlin and Morgana, respectively, against both their protests, in Excalibur (1981) because he thought their real-life dislike for each other would give their scenes more of an edge.
President of the 'Cinéfondation & Short films' jury at the 62nd Cannes International Film Festival in 2009.
Biography in: John Wakeman, editor. "World Film Directors, Volume Two, 1945-1985." Pages 141-145. New York: The H.W. Wilson Company, 1988.
Member of 'Official Competition' jury at the 45th Cannes International Film Festival in 1992.
Member of the 'Official Competition' jury at the 48th Venice International Film Festival in 1991.
Grandfather of Kinvara Boorman and Doone Boorman.
1997: Achievement Award presented by Film Institute of Ireland.
June 1984: Received a CBE (Companion of the Order of the British Empire) in the Queen's Birthday Honours List.
Was sent an early draft of a script for Rocky (1976) by producer Robert Chartoff. He wrote back to say that not only was he not interested but that he strongly advised Chartoff to drop the project completely.
Moved to Ireland from L.A. in 1969 when he was directing Leo the Last (1970). Purchased a Georgian rectory in County Wicklow for £21,500. Back then the location was quite remote though, nowadays, his neighbors include such luminaries as, Paddy Moloney (The Chieftains' front man), Paul McGuinness (U2's manager), Daniel Day-Lewis, etc.
It was reported in 1968 that he was going to direct a film of "Rosenkrantz and Guilderstern are dead".
In 2012, he was the subject of a documentary film, originally made for French television and directed by his daughter Katrine. In it, it was revealed that his second marriage, to Isabella Weibrecht, had recently ended in divorce.
(April 11, 1998) When Boorman's Best Director Oscar nomination for Hope and Glory (1987) coincided with directors Adrian Lyne (UK) for Fatal Attraction (1987), Lasse Hallström (Sweden) for My Life as a Dog (1985), Norman Jewison (Canada) for Moonstruck (1987) and winner Bernardo Bertolucci (Italy) for The Last Emperor (1987), this was the only instance in Oscar history where all five Best Director nominees were non-Americans.
He was originally attached to direct Sharky's Machine (1981), but withdrew due to post-production work on Excalibur (1981).
He offered the chance to direct The Exorcist (1973), but declined because he felt the storyline was "cruel towards children". He did, however, accept the offer to direct Exorcist II: The Heretic (1977).
He was asked to direct Fatal Attraction (1987), but turned it down to make Hope and Glory (1987).
He has directed two films that have been selected for the National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being "culturally, historically or aesthetically" significant: Point Blank (1967) and Deliverance (1972).

Personal Quotes (15)

[on the "Lord of the Rings" film trilogy by Peter Jackson] I think it was a brilliant idea to make three films ... I'm glad "The Lord Of The Rings" is being made now, and I'm looking forward to seeing it. I'm sure it'll be a big success.
[on his failed attempt at bringing writer J.R.R. Tolkien's "Lord of the Rings" to the screen] Everything I learned, the technical problems I had to resolve in planning for "The Lord Of The Rings", I applied to Excalibur (1981). That was my recompense.
I always think that watching films is very like dreaming.
He seems to think he's Lee Marvin. Except he's two feet shorter. And about one third the talent. - On Mel Gibson
[on Lee Marvin] I learned more from Lee about filmmaking than from anyone. He has this incredible economy and brilliant camera technique. Most actors are completely spastic when it comes to moving properly, but Lee has the economy and quickness of a dancer.
Filmmaking is inventing impossible problems for yourself and then failing to solve them.
[on Lee Marvin] The profound unease we feel in identifying with an evil character in a movie is the recognition that we may be capable of such evil. Lee knew from his war experiences the depth of our capacity for cruelty and evil. He had committed such deeds, had plumbed the depths and was prepared to recount what he had seen down there.
[on Richard Attenborough] One can not escape the suspicion that Dickie is acting out all his roles as mediator, peacemaker, director, chairman, businessman, yet he is redeemed by a true goodness of heart, which drives him to pursue the common good. He has reached out to me just at the moment I needed it, alone and embattled. That is his genius.
[1984 comment on Richard Burton] He's like all these drunks. Impossible when he's drunk and only half there when he's sober. Wooden as a board with his body, relies on doing all his acting with his voice.
[1987 comment on Sean Connery as James Bond] There was nothing much in Fleming's [Ian Fleming] Bond -- English, public school, snobbish -- that connected with him, but he took the character by the throat and shook some sense into it. It was the disparity between the man and the role that made it so compelling. The slickness, the cleverness, the effete charm were there in the scripts, but Sean's animal power made them seem like decorative accretions thinly concealing a real hero in the old mythic mold.
[on Sarah Miles] Every actor has certain ways of expressing their nerves and with Sarah it was always terribly difficult to actually get her on the set. There was always a problem, usually with her clothes ... I found myself shouting at her. Then she'd burst into tears and her eyes would go all red so we wouldn't be able to shoot the scene.
Paul Henreid told me about Michael Curtiz making Casablanca (1942). Curtiz suddenly decided he needed a poodle for a scene. The prop man and assistant directors ran in all directions, searching and making calls. Meanwhile Curtiz and Bogart played chess. Eventually, an animal wrangler arrived with a selection of poodles for the director to choose from. "Not a poodle!", he screamed. "A 'poodel'! With water!".
Movies are the repository of myth. Therein lies their power. An alternative history, that of the human psyche, is contained and unfolded in the old stories and tales. Film carries on this tradition.
[on Jean-Luc Godard] He is wonderfully subversive and wickedly funny. Half of what he says, I'm sure, is designed to mislead younger filmmakers.
[on the infamous opening night of Exorcist II: The Heretic (1977)] Such is a prime example of why I never attend my own premieres. I heard about the filmmakers being chased from the theater and several blocks down the street, about people demanding their money back and/or throwing trash at the screen...At the time, I was busy ducking and covering beneath my dining room table at home.

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