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Nicolas Roeg Poster

Biography

Jump to: Overview (3)  | Mini Bio (1)  | Spouse (3)  | Trade Mark (2)  | Trivia (10)  | Personal Quotes (14)

Overview (3)

Born in London, England, UK
Birth NameNicolas Jack Roeg
Height 5' 7" (1.7 m)

Mini Bio (1)

When he made his directorial debut in 1970, Nicolas Roeg was already a 23-year veteran of the British film industry, starting out in 1947 as an editing apprentice and working his way up to cinematographer twelve years later. He first came to attention as part of the second unit on David Lean's Lawrence of Arabia (1962), with Roger Corman's The Masque of the Red Death (1964) two years later containing his first really distinctive solo work. He went on to photograph films for such distinguished directors as François Truffaut (Fahrenheit 451 (1966)), John Schlesinger (Far from the Madding Crowd (1967)) and Richard Lester (Petulia (1968)) before his sensational directorial debut in 1968. Co-directed with writer (and painter) Donald Cammell Performance (1970) was intended to be a simple-minded star vehicle for Mick Jagger and Warner Bros were so horrified when they saw the final multi-layered kaleidoscope of sex, violence, and questions of identity that they delayed its release for two years. Roeg went to Australia for his solo debut as director (Walkabout (1971)), which was also his last film as cinematographer, and throughout the next decade he produced a world-class body of work (Don't Look Now (1973); The Man Who Fell to Earth (1976); Bad Timing (1980)) that revealed his uniquely off-kilter view of the world, expressed through fragmented, dislocated images and a highly original yet strangely accessible approach to narrative. He married the star of Bad Timing (1980), the elegant Theresa Russell who would play the female lead in nearly all his subsequent films, though these have generally found less favor with critics and audiences, and the release of both Eureka (1983) and Cold Heaven (1991) was severely restricted due to problems with the films' distributors.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: Michael Brooke < michael@everyman.demon.co.uk>

Spouse (3)

Harriet Harper (January 2005 - present)
Theresa Russell (February 1986 - ?) ( divorced) ( 2 children)
Susan Stephen (13 April 1957 - 3 October 1977) ( divorced) ( 4 children)

Trade Mark (2)

Fragmented, non-linear narrative style
Alternates between handheld and stationary cameras

Trivia (10)

The band Big Audio Dynamite paid tribute to Roeg on the song "E=MC2" on their first album, "This is Big Audio Dynamite". The song is filled with imagery from his movies, including descriptive snippets of Performance (1970), Don't Look Now (1973), The Man Who Fell to Earth (1976) and Insignificance (1985).
Never went to film school.
Once got a job at MGM and worked there for approximately two years.
Honorary Member of the Guild of British Camera Technicians (GBCT).
Younger brother of Nicolette Roeg.
Was originally going to direct Flash Gordon (1980), but didn't due to creative differences.
He was made a Fellow of the British Film Institute in recognition of his outstanding contribution to film culture.
He was hired as director of photography on Doctor Zhivago (1965), but disagreed constantly with director David Lean and was eventually replaced by Freddie Young.

Personal Quotes (14)

There are three lovely critical expressions: pretentious, gratuitous, profound. None of which I truly understand.
I can't think how anyone can become a director without learning the craft of cinematography. I was very glad later when I was directing that I wasn't in the hands of a cinematographer and hoping that he would do it well. I would know what he was doing, and we could discuss how that scene would look. It was just lucky in a way that I didn't go to film school and just learned all this on the floor.
I shoot a lot of stuff. I think that's probably come from not having gone to film school. Things work themselves out. You've lost the showmanship thing, the fairground barker, come-see-what's-inside aspect of filmmaking when you try to plan everything for the audience.
In life, we all learn from everyone. But if you like and admire someone tremendously, perhaps because they think the way you do, or like the way you think, then inevitably you do.
It fascinates me now that film has become a university subject; I can't believe it.
It rather shattered me today when I went to see Eric Fellner's talk - it was fascinating, and he's probably one of the most successful producers right now in England. He talked about how his films are ordered and structured and market researched. In my day - and I was lucky that way - it was still a showman's place, a walk-right-up kind of thing. There was something vagabond-like about it, at the same time it was growing secretly. And the idea of photography as an art was ridiculous. But that was my life, in a factory setting.
Movies are not scripts - movies are films; they're not books, they're not the theater. It's a completely different discipline, it exists on its own. I would say that the beauty of it is it's not the theater, it's not done over again. It's done in bits and pieces. Things are happening which you can't get again.
People usually arrive to see something with an open mind. I want to make them feel something emotionally, but not by planning how to get them there. That would almost be like the communist days when newspapers told people what to think - when there was no competition with Pravda.
Some people are very lucky, and have the story in their heads. I've never storyboarded anything. I like the idea of chance. What makes God laugh is people who make plans.
The great difference between screen acting and theater acting is that screen acting is about reacting - 75% of the time, great screen actors are great reactors. When it comes to film, the director tells the audience what to look at. That doesn't happen on stage. When the dialog stops, people don't know where to look.
You make the movie through the cinematography - it sounds quite a simple idea, but it was like a huge revelation to me. Curiously, it sank for a while when video and commercials came in. Because they had very little story to tell and they just had one thing to sell, they could have magnificent photography but not great cinematography. So quite a lot of people who've come into cinema from the commercials world have had to learn the very fact of what cinematography is over again.
[on whether he watches his own movies] I never watch them. It's like a trip to the past. You can't help but remember the day each scene was shot. It may be a shot to you, but it's a day to me.
God laughs at people who make plans. If one does too much planning, you're not seeing the gold beneath your feet.
[on Stanley Kubrick] I must say I did like his attitude towards film and the fact that he was an artist and complete unto himself. He wasn't under corporate censorship, and he was never trying to make a film that you'd be able to pigeonhole in any particular genre. I think that was the case with all his films.

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