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Kathryn Bigelow

Kathryn Bigelow

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Also Known As: Kathy Bigelow, Kathryn Ann Bigelow Died:
Born: November 27, 1951 Cause of Death:
Birth Place: San Carlos, California, USA Profession: director, screenwriter, actor, model, script supervisor, painter, conceptual artist

Biography CLOSE THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

Hailed as one of the preeminent stylists of contemporary Hollywood filmmaking, Kathryn Bigelow was often too easily pigeonholed as a female director with a flair for traditionally masculine movies. After making an unusual entrance to cinema by way of the art world, Bigelow put her distinctive stamp on standard genre films like the Western-twinged vampire flick, "Near Dark" (1987) and the feminist-themed cop thriller, "Blue Steel" (1990). With the financial success of the surfer bank heist picture, "Point Break" (1991), Bigelow enjoyed newfound status as a mainstream director with a rather artistic bent. Following a brief marriage and creative collaboration with fellow director James Cameron, she directed one of her most challenging films, the futuristic "Strange Days" (1995), which failed to catch on at the box office, but nonetheless displayed how successfully a filmmaker could marry art with narrative. Despite the financial disaster that was "K-12: The Widowmaker" (2002), Bigelow continued to churn out an impressive body of work, including the Oscar-winning war drama "The Hurt Locker" (2009) and "Zero Dark Thirty" (2012), both of which honed in on her fascination with the meaning of violence that...

Hailed as one of the preeminent stylists of contemporary Hollywood filmmaking, Kathryn Bigelow was often too easily pigeonholed as a female director with a flair for traditionally masculine movies. After making an unusual entrance to cinema by way of the art world, Bigelow put her distinctive stamp on standard genre films like the Western-twinged vampire flick, "Near Dark" (1987) and the feminist-themed cop thriller, "Blue Steel" (1990). With the financial success of the surfer bank heist picture, "Point Break" (1991), Bigelow enjoyed newfound status as a mainstream director with a rather artistic bent. Following a brief marriage and creative collaboration with fellow director James Cameron, she directed one of her most challenging films, the futuristic "Strange Days" (1995), which failed to catch on at the box office, but nonetheless displayed how successfully a filmmaker could marry art with narrative. Despite the financial disaster that was "K-12: The Widowmaker" (2002), Bigelow continued to churn out an impressive body of work, including the Oscar-winning war drama "The Hurt Locker" (2009) and "Zero Dark Thirty" (2012), both of which honed in on her fascination with the meaning of violence that was once thought to be the exclusive domain of male directors.

VIEW THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

Filmographyclose complete filmography

DIRECTOR:

1.
2.
3.
  K-19: The Widowmaker (2002) Director
4.
  Weight of Water, The (2000) Director
5.
  Strange Days (1995) Director
6.
  Point Break (1991) Director
7.
  Blue Steel (1989) Director
8.
  Near Dark (1987) Director
9.
  Loveless, The (1982) Director
10.
  Set-Up (1978) Director

CAST: (feature film)

2.
 Born in Flames (1983) Newspaper Editor
VIEW THE FULL FILMOGRAPHY

Milestones close milestones

1971:
Lived in NYC variously as a student, artist, and filmmaker
1971:
Showed one of her first "exhibitions" at the Whitney Museum in NYC
1978:
Short film writing, producing, and directing debut, "Set-Up" (a 20-minute-long Columbia student project)
:
Posed for a Gap advertisement
1980:
Served as script supervisor for "Union City"
1982:
First feature as co-writer/co-director (with Monty Montgomery), "The Loveless"; feature debut for star Willem Dafoe
1983:
Feature acting debut (as Kathy Bigelow), Lizzie Borden's "Born in Flames"
1983:
Moved to Los Angeles, CA
:
Landed development deal with producer-writer-director Walter Hill (who had been impressed by "The Loveless")
1987:
Solo directorial debut (also co-wrote with Eric Red), "Near Dark"
1990:
Directed Jamie Lee Curtis in "Blue Steel"
1991:
Helmed "Point Break" with Keanu Reeves and Patrick Swayze; first collaboration with then-husband James Cameron (executive produced)
1993:
TV directing debut, helmed second hour of sci-fi miniseries "Wild Palms" (ABC)
1995:
Directed futuristic film "Strange Days," co-scripted and produced by ex-husband James Cameron
1996:
Re-teamed with Eric Red to write the thriller "Undertow" (Showtime)
1998:
Helmed a two-part episode of "Homicide: Life on the Street" (NBC); directed a third episode in 1999
2000:
Directed feature adaptation of Anita Shreve's novel "The Weight of Water"
2002:
Directed Harrison Ford in "K-19: The Widowmaker"; also produced
2009:
Directed Iraq war thriller "The Hurt Locker," written by former <i>Playboy</i> journalist Mark Boal; screened at festivals in 2008
2009:
Nominated for the 2009 Golden Globe Award for Best Director ¿ Motion Picture ("The Hurt Locker")
2009:
Nominated for the 2009 Directors Guild of America Award for Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Feature Film ("The Hurt Locker")
2010:
Became first woman to win the Academy Award for Best Director (for "The Hurt Locker")
2012:
Directed "Zero Dark Thirty," a drama based on the hunt for Osama bin Laden; re-teamed with writer Mark Boal
VIEW ALL MILESTONES

Education

San Francisco Art Institute: San Francisco , California - 1970 - 1972
Whitney Museum Independent Study Program: New York , New York - 1972
Columbia University: New York , New York - 1979

Notes

"Film requires nothing but time. Two hours. . . . I thought it could be this great social tool. The challenge became how to create something accessible with a conscience. I'm still working on that. That's where I am. You know, rules are meant to be broken, boundaries are meant to be invaded, envelopes are meant to be pushed, preconceptions challenged. One of the things the film is about is watching, the consequences of watching, the political consequences of experiencing someone else's life vicariously, of having your art consist of pieces of other people's experience. It's sort of like a Rorschach, sort of like the monolith in '2001.' You will project onto it. But hopefully you'll also take away thought. Human nature prevents us from standing still. If you're pushing the envelope and challenging the system, that's the tenet of art." --Kathryn Bigelow quoted in The Boston Globe, October 8, 1995.

"The nice thing with a genre like horror is that it's a definite grid on which to hang a piece and give the audience a familiarity before you kind of subvert it. In the case of 'Near Dark,' I was interested in this sort of marginal ad hoc family unit doing no more than trying to survive as any family unit will do. They're not like serial killers or someone killing for pleasure; they're killing for survival. And so I kept thinking of them as this marginal family structure -- I wanted to see how they could function in an alternative universe." --Bigelow to The Washington Post, October 17, 1995.

"The filmmakers I admire most like Oliver [Stone] and Scorsese and Kurosawa -- they always have an edge, a complexity. Their movies aren't comforting; they're not pacifying. They bring out the audience's strength." --Kathryn Bigelow quoted in Vogue, October 1995.

On the images she creates in her films, Bigelow told Graham Fuller in Interview (November 1995); "I simply try to visceralize the psychology of the characters. . . . I create the visuals in a way that seems absolutely inevitable to me. There's nothing aesthetized about them."

"She's great. She's kind of an insane combination of things. She's like both this excited little girl who's beside herself with excitement of being on a film set and then this kind of tiger who is so tough and so fierce and knows exactly what she wants." - Sarah Polley, star of "The Weight of Water" on Kathryn Bigelow

Companions close complete companion listing

husband:
James Cameron. Director. Married in August 1989; divorced in 1991.

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