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Nicolas Roeg

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Also Known As: Nicolas Jack Roeg, N. Roeg, Nick Roeg Died:
Born: August 15, 1928 Cause of Death:
Birth Place: London, England, GB Profession: director, screenwriter, director of photography, producer, dubber, clapper boy

Biography CLOSE THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

Nicolas Roeg started working in the film industry at the age of 19 at the Marylebone Studio, where he was a tea-boy and assisted in the dubbing of French films. Roeg then went to work for MGM's London studios, where he slowly moved his way up the ladder to become a camera operator. He did second-unit photography for "Lawrence of Arabia" (1962) and finally became a director of photography on such films as "The Caretaker" (1963), "Fahrenheit 451" (1966), "Far From the Madding Crowd" (1967) and "Petulia" (1968).In 1968, Roeg co-directed "Performance" with screenwriter Donald Cammell, but Warner Bros. was so dismayed with the film that they initially refused to release it. (The plot involved two characters--James Fox as a gangster on the run and Mick Jagger as a reclusive rock singer--whose identities merge.) When "Performance" was finally released in 1970, reactions were hardly tepid; critic Richard Schickel called it "the most disgusting, the most completely worthless film I have seen since I began reviewing." The film postulates the frightening concept that individualized, integrated personality is a fiction; it remains one of the most boldly experimental features made within the commercial confines...

Nicolas Roeg started working in the film industry at the age of 19 at the Marylebone Studio, where he was a tea-boy and assisted in the dubbing of French films. Roeg then went to work for MGM's London studios, where he slowly moved his way up the ladder to become a camera operator. He did second-unit photography for "Lawrence of Arabia" (1962) and finally became a director of photography on such films as "The Caretaker" (1963), "Fahrenheit 451" (1966), "Far From the Madding Crowd" (1967) and "Petulia" (1968).

In 1968, Roeg co-directed "Performance" with screenwriter Donald Cammell, but Warner Bros. was so dismayed with the film that they initially refused to release it. (The plot involved two characters--James Fox as a gangster on the run and Mick Jagger as a reclusive rock singer--whose identities merge.) When "Performance" was finally released in 1970, reactions were hardly tepid; critic Richard Schickel called it "the most disgusting, the most completely worthless film I have seen since I began reviewing." The film postulates the frightening concept that individualized, integrated personality is a fiction; it remains one of the most boldly experimental features made within the commercial confines of the English film industry.

With "Walkabout" (1971), Roeg transformed a didactic children's novel about a teenaged girl and her young brother lost in the Australian outback into a film about missed opportunities and different ways of seeing the world. "Don't Look Now" (1973), perhaps his most carefully structured work, is also about perception and perspective and can even be analyzed as a self-reflexive work about how we watch films. Roeg's visionary philosophy and his disavowal of traditional narrative conventions reached their most extreme form in "The Man Who Fell to Earth" (1976), in which he attempted, in his words, "to push the structure of film grammar into a different area . . . by taking away the crutch of time which the audience holds onto." Unlike his previous films, where ambiguities can be best understood through multiple viewings and careful analysis of correspondences, "The Man Who Fell to Earth" can't be fully grasped because Roeg refuses to give his viewers all the necessary information; it is his most open-ended work.

"Bad Timing" (1980) and the rarely screened "Eureka" (produced 1983, released 1985) both reflect the director's concerns with convoluted narrative, the merging of disparate identities and the "interconnectedness" of all things, in a style characterized by frenzied editing and shifting camera angles. Like many of Roeg's subsequent films, they starred his wife, actress Theresa Russell.

After "Eureka," Roeg seemed to be moving away from some of these themes and techniques, perhaps finding it increasingly difficult to balance his unique personal vision with the overriding commercial considerations of the 1980s. "Insignificance" (1985), "Castaway" (1986), "Track 29" (1987) and "The Witches" (1990) pale in comparison to his early, ground-breaking films.

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Filmographyclose complete filmography

DIRECTOR:

1.
  Puffball (2007)
2.
  Two Deaths (1995) Director
3.
  Hotel Paradise (1995) Director
4.
  Full Body Massage (1995) Director
5.
  Heart Of Darkness (1994) Director
6.
  Cold Heaven (1991) Director
7.
  Witches, The (1990) Director
9.
  Track 29 (1988) Director
10.
  Aria (1987) Director ("Un Ballo In Maschera")

CAST: (feature film)

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Milestones close milestones

:
Served as projectionist for army unit during WWII
1947:
Began working at London's Marylebone Studio as dubber and assistant editor
1950:
Moved to MGM's London studios as clapper boy, assistant to camera crew
1960:
First work as second-unit photographer
1961:
Debut as director of photography with "On Information Received"
1963:
First earned recognition as dop with Roger Corman's "The Masque of the Red Death"
1970:
First film as co-director (with Donald Cammell), "Performance"
1971:
First film as solo director, "Walkabout"
1973:
Helmed the cult classic thriller "Don't Look Now", starring Donald Sutherland and Julie Christie
1980:
First collaboration with actress Theresa Russell, "Bad Timing: A Sensual Obsession"
1989:
TV directorial debut for "Sweet Bird of Youth"
1990:
Directed the satirical "The Witches", featuring Anjelica Huston
1992:
Helmed episode of the US TV series "The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles"
1996:
Directed the TNT biblical movie "Samson and Delilah"
1999:
At the Cannes Film Festival, announced plans to direct the feature "Night Train", based on Martin Amis' novel
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Education

Mercers School: -

Companions close complete companion listing

wife:
Susan Rennie Stephen. Married on May 12, 1957; no longer married.
wife:
Theresa Russell. Actor. Married in 1985; have two sons together.

Family close complete family listing

father:
Jack Nicolas Roeg.
mother:
Mabel Gertrude Roeg.
son:
Joscelin Nicolas Roeg. Mother, Susan Stephen.
son:
Nicolas Jack Roeg. Mother, Susan Stephen.
son:
Luc Roeg. Producer, agent. Born c. 1962; mother Susan Stephen; made hundreds of music videos during the 1980s; associate producer of "Un Ballo in Maschera" segment of "Aria" (1987) directed by father; produced first film "Big Time" (1988); also produced "Let Him Have It" (1991); producer of "Two Deaths" (1992) directed by father; became head of independent films at the London office of William Morris in 1998.
son:
Sholto Jules Roeg. Production assistant; third assistant director. Mother, Susan Stephen.
son:
Stratten Jack Roeg. Mother, Theresa Russell.
son:
Maxim Roeg. Mother, Theresa Russell.
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Bibliography close complete biography

"Nicholas Roeg" Twayne
"The Films of Nicolas Roeg - Myth And Mind" St. Martin's Press
"Fragile Geometry - The Films, Philosophy and Misadventures of Nicolas Roeg" Performing Arts Journal Publications
"Nicolas Roeg Film By Film" McFarland
"The Films of Nicolas Roeg"
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