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Michael Kenneth Mann (born February 5, 1943) is an American film director, screenwriter, and producer. For his work, he has received nominations from international organizations and juries, including those at the British Academy of Film and Television Arts, Cannesmarker and the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. He has produced the Academy Awards ceremony twice, first in 1999 with the 72nd annual Academy Awards and second in 2004 with the 77th annual ceremony.

Total Film ranked Mann #28 on their 100 The Greatest Directors Ever and Sight and Sound ranked him #5 on their list of the 10 Best Directors of the Last 25 Years, Entertainment Weekly ranked Mann #8 on their 25 Greatest Active Film Directors list.

Early life

Mann was born in Chicago of Jewish heritage, the son of grocers Esther and Jack Mann. His father was a Ukrainian immigrant and World War II combat veteran and his mother came from a family native to Chicago. Mann was close to his father and his paternal grandfather. He grew up in the Humboldt Parkmarker neighborhood and immersed himself in the burgeoning Chicago blues-music scene as a teenager.

He studied English at the University of Wisconsin–Madisonmarker and developed interests in history, philosophy and architecture. It was at this time that he first saw Stanley Kubrick's Dr. Strangelove and fell in love with movies. In a recent L.A. Weekly interview, he describes the film's impact on him: "It said to my whole generation of filmmakers that you could make an individual statement of high integrity and have that film be successfully seen by a mass audience all at the same time. In other words, you didn’t have to be making Seven Brides for Seven Brothers if you wanted to work in the main stream film industry, or be reduced to niche filmmaking if you wanted to be serious about cinema. So that’s what Kubrick meant, aside from the fact that Strangelove was a revelation."

Career

Mann later moved to London in the mid 1960s to go to graduate school in cinema. He went on to receive a graduate degree at the London Film Schoolmarker. He spent seven years in the United Kingdom going to film school and then working on commercials along with contemporaries Alan Parker, Ridley Scott and Adrian Lyne. In 1968, footage he shot of the Paris student revolt for a documentary, Insurrection, aired on NBC's First Tuesday news program and he developed his '68 experiences into the short film "Juanpuri," which won the Jury Prize at Cannesmarker in 1970.

Mann returned to United States after divorcing his first wife in 1971. He went on to direct a road trip documentary, 17 Days Down the Line. Three years later, Hawaii Five-0 veteran Robert Lewin gave Mann a shot and a crash course on television writing and story structure. Mann wrote the first four episodes of Starsky and Hutch and the pilot episode for Vega$. Around this time, he worked on a show called Police Story with cop-turned-novelist Joseph Wambaugh. Police Story concentrated on the detailed realism of a real cop's life and taught Mann the essential for first-hand research to bring authenticity to his work.

His first feature movie was a made-for-TV special called The Jericho Mile, which was released theatrically in Europe. It won the Emmy for best MOW in 1979 and the DGA Best Director award. His television work also includes being the executive producer on Miami Vice and Crime Story. Contrary to popular belief, he is not the creator of these shows but the executive producer and the showrunner. They were produced by his production company. However, his cinematic influence is felt throughout each show in terms of casting and style.

Mann is now known primarily as a feature film director and he is considered to be one of America's top filmmakers. He has a very distinctive style that is reflected in his works: his trademarks include unusual scores, such as Tangerine Dream in Thief or the New Age score to Manhunter. Dante Spinotti is a frequent cinematographer of Mann's pictures. Mann has an affinity for stark urban landscapes and a visual style which often places an emphasis on soft blues and harsh, sterile whites.

Mann's first cinema feature as director was Thief (1981) starring James Caan. His next film The Keep (1983) was in retrospect an uncharacteristic choice, being that it is a supernatural thriller set in Nazi occupied Romaniamarker. It was a commercial flop and provoked almost universal confusion in those who did decide to see it. Though it is believed that the 96 minute released cut was significantly shorter than Mann had intended. The film has since attained cult status amongst fans, but is yet to be released on DVD.

In 1986, Mann was the first to bring Thomas Harris's character of Hannibal Lecter to the screen with Manhunter, his adaptation of novel Red Dragon, which starred Brian Cox as a more down-to-earth Hannibal. The story was remade less than 20 years after it came out by Brett Ratner presumably because Anthony Hopkins reprisal of the role in Ridley Scott's Hannibal had made the character a highly lucrative property. In an interview on the Manhunter DVD, star William Petersen comments that because Mann is so focused on his creations, it takes several years for Mann to complete a film; Petersen believes that this is why Mann doesn't make films very often.

He gained wide spread recognition in 1992 for his film adaptation of James Fenimore Cooper's book Last of the Mohicans. His biggest critical successes in the 1990s began with the release of Heat in 1995 and The Insider in 1999. The films, both of which featured Al Pacino along with Robert DeNiro in Heat and Russell Crowe in The Insider, showcased Mann's cinematic style and adeptness at creating rich, complex storylines as well as directing actors. The Insider was nominated for seven Academy Awards as a result, including a nomination for Mann's direction.

With his next film Ali starring Will Smith in 2001, he started experimenting with digital cameras. The film helped catapult Will Smith to greater fame, and he was nominated for an Academy Award for his performance.

On Collateral, he shot all of the exterior scenes digitally so that he could achieve more depth and detail during the night scenes while shooting most of the interiors on film stock.

In 2004, Mann produced The Aviator, based on the life of Howard Hughes, which he had developed with Leonardo DiCaprio. However, Mann demurred doing a second biopic after "Ali," directed Collateral starring Tom Cruise and Jamie Foxx and offered the "The Aviator" director's chair to now-frequent DiCaprio collaborator Martin Scorsese. The Aviator was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Picture but lost to Million Dollar Baby.

After Collateral, Mann directed the film adaptaion of Miami Vice which he also executive produced. It stars a completely new cast with Jamie Foxx filling Philip Michael Thomas' shoes.

Mann served as a producer and Peter Berg as director for the movies "Kingdom" and Hancock. "Hancock" stars Will Smith as a hard-drinking superhero who has fallen out of favor with the public and who begins to have a relationship with the wife (Charlize Theron) of a public relations expert (Jason Bateman) who is helping him to repair his image. Mann also makes a cameo appearance in the film as an executive. In the fall of 2007, Mann directed two commercials for Nikemarker. The ad campaign "Leave Nothing" features football action scenes with current NFL players Shawn Merriman and Steven Jackson.

In 2009, Mann wrote and directed Public Enemies for Universal Pictures, about the Depression-era crime wave, based on Brian Burrough's nonfiction book, Public Enemies: America's Greatest Crime Wave and the Birth of the FBI, 1933-34. It starred Johnny Depp and Christian Bale. Depp played John Dillinger in the film and Bale played Melvin Purvis, the FBI agent in charge of capturing Dillinger.

Mann has also been developing Frankie Machine about an ex mob hit man (Robert De Niro) who is lured back into his dangerous profession. On May 2, 2007, Variety magazine revealed that Mann's next project would be a 1930s film noir starring Leonardo DiCaprio. On October 10, 2007, Variety reported that Mann would be re-teaming with Will Smith on a film entitled, Empire for Columbia Pictures, written by John Logan. Smith will "play a contemporary global media mogul." There are also reports that Mann will write and direct a now untitled biopic of Robert Capa, the famed war photographer.

Awards and honors

Mann received an Emmy in 1979 for Outstanding Writing in a Limited Series or a Special for The Jericho Mile. The following year he was honored by the Directors Guild of Americamarker for Outstanding Directorial Achievement for The Jericho Mile. In 1990, he won another Emmy for Outstanding Miniseries for Drug Wars: The Camarena Story. Mann was the recipient of the Humanitas Prize in 2000 for The Insider. In 2005, he received the BAFTA Film Award for co-producing The Aviator.

To date he has received four Academy Award nominations: in 2000, the Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Director and Best Motion Picture of the Year all for The Insider, in 2005 Mann received nomination for production of Scorsese's The Aviator.

Total Film ranked Mann #28 on their 100 The Greatest Directors Ever and Sight and Sound ranked him #5 on their list of the 10 Best Directors of the Last 25 Years, Entertainment Weekly ranked Mann #8 on their 25 Greatest Active Film Directors list.

Filmography

Year Film Credit
1979 The Jericho Mile (TV) Director
1981 Thief Director, Writer, Executive Producer
1983 The Keep Director, Writer
1986 Manhunter Director, Writer
1989 L.A. Takedown (TV) Director, Writer, Executive Producer
1992 The Last of the Mohicans Director, Writer, Producer
1995 Heat Director, Writer, Producer
1999 The Insider Director, Writer, Producer
2001 Ali Director, Writer, Producer
2004 Collateral Director, Producer
The Aviator Producer
2006 Miami Vice Director, Writer, Producer
2007 The Kingdom Producer
2008 Hancock Producer
2009 Public Enemies Director, Writer, Producer


Television

Mann has created the television series Vega$ and executive produced Crime Story, Miami Vice, and Robbery Homicide Division.

Advertising

Mann directed the 2002 "Lucky Star" advert for Mercedes-Benz, which took the form of a film trailer for a purported thriller featuring Benicio del Toro.

References

  1. http://www.bfi.org.uk/sightandsound/feature/63/
  2. Director Michael Mann tells Xan Brooks about getting into the ring with a legend | Interviews | guardian.co.uk Film
  3. Michael Mann Biography (1943-)
  4. Michael Mann Biography | TVGuide.com
  5. Inside Manhunter: Interviews with stars William Petersen, Joan Allen, Brian Cox, and Tom Noonan
  6. http://www.bfi.org.uk/sightandsound/feature/63/


Interviews



External links

http://www.onestepaheadmovie.com


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