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Stephen Daldry

Stephen Daldry

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Also Known As: Stephen David Daldry Died:
Born: May 2, 1961 Cause of Death:
Birth Place: Dorset, England, GB Profession: director, screenwriter, actor

Biography CLOSE THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

Along with contemporaries Sam Mendes and Danny Boyle, Stephen Daldry established himself as a renowned director on some of England's most prestigious stages before making a successful transition to award-winning filmmaker. After spending time honing his craft and amassing numerous accolades for more than a decade, Daldry stepped behind the cameras to helm the feature "Billy Elliot" (2000), a drama about a preteen boy struggling with grief over his mother's premature death and finding a measure of solace in dancing ballet. The British-made film earned a slew of award nominations and widespread recognition for Daldry overseas, who suddenly found himself in demand in Hollywood. He followed up with an even more extraordinary effort, "The Hours" (2002), which told the stories of three generations of women dissatisfied with their lives, earning Daldry his second Academy Award nomination. Though he routinely returned to the stage - usually to great acclaim, as he did with "Billy Elliot: The Musical" (2005) - it was movies like "Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close" (2011) that allowed Daldry to remain one of the top directors of emotionally complex films, helmed with a deft and steady hand.Born on May 2,...

Along with contemporaries Sam Mendes and Danny Boyle, Stephen Daldry established himself as a renowned director on some of England's most prestigious stages before making a successful transition to award-winning filmmaker. After spending time honing his craft and amassing numerous accolades for more than a decade, Daldry stepped behind the cameras to helm the feature "Billy Elliot" (2000), a drama about a preteen boy struggling with grief over his mother's premature death and finding a measure of solace in dancing ballet. The British-made film earned a slew of award nominations and widespread recognition for Daldry overseas, who suddenly found himself in demand in Hollywood. He followed up with an even more extraordinary effort, "The Hours" (2002), which told the stories of three generations of women dissatisfied with their lives, earning Daldry his second Academy Award nomination. Though he routinely returned to the stage - usually to great acclaim, as he did with "Billy Elliot: The Musical" (2005) - it was movies like "Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close" (2011) that allowed Daldry to remain one of the top directors of emotionally complex films, helmed with a deft and steady hand.

Born on May 2, 1961 in Dorset, Daldry was raised by his father, Patrick, a bank manager and his mother, Cherry Thompson, a cabaret singer. Daldry spent part of his formative years as a member of a youth drama group in Taunton, then attended Sheffield University, where he majored in English and excelled at drama, while making friends with future stand-up comic, Eddie Izzard. After an apprenticeship with Italian clown Elder Milletti, where he learned to walk tightropes and swallow fire, Daldry served an apprenticeship at the Crucible Theatre in Sheffield from 1985-88, then under the command of Clare Venables, where he ran the writing group, Metro. After performing in a production of "Prometheus in Evin" (1988), Daldry left the Crucible to join The Gate Theatre, where he garnered attention for his brilliant staging of Tirso de Molina's "Damned for Despair" (1991). In 1992, Daldry went to the Royal Court Theatre, taking over as artistic director once his successor, Max Stafford-Clark, stepped down to become Daldry's associate.

Also that year, Daldry staged one of his most popular and lucrative productions, "An Inspector Calls" (1992), at the Royal National Theatre. His collaboration with designer Ian McNeill yielded a highly stylized approach to what was considered a heavy-handed drama about a family's involvement in a young woman's suicide. Daldry became the toast of London, earning Best Director awards from The Evening Standard, London Critics' Circle Theatre Awards and Olivier Awards. In 1994, he revived "An Inspector Calls" on Broadway, which earned him international acclaim and his first Tony Award for Best Director. After the acclaimed revival of "Rat in the Skull" (1995), which depicted the interrogation of an IRA member on a stage dominated by a giant cage, Daldry took his first steps into directing for the screen with a BBC documentary about the Royal Court Theatre, then formed his company, Stephen Daldry Productions. In 1997, Daldry signed a three-year, first-look deal with Working Title Films, anticipating a move to film. He then directed the BAFTA-nominated short "Eight" (1998) before returning to the theater to direct David Hare's monologue "Via Dolorosa" (1998), about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, as depicted by the people the playwright met on a trip to the Middle East.

Playwright Lee Hall showed Daldry his screenplay about a youngster from a coal mining family who wants to be a ballet dancer instead of a miner. Hooked by the writing and the story, Daldry selected the project as his debut film "Billy Elliot" (2000), a heartwarming coming of age drama starring Jamie Bell as the young lad whose passion for dance leads him to London to pursue his dream after winning the approval of his father (Gary Lewis). The film earned a BAFTA Award for Outstanding British Film. After a return to the Royal Court Theatre with a production of "Far Away" (2000), Daldry directed a powerful, emotional film version of Michael Cunningham's Pulitzer-winning novel, "The Hours" (2002). Telling three loosely inter-related stories about author Virginia Woolf (Nicole Kidman), a Los Angeles housewife (Julianne Moore), and a middle-aged lesbian (Meryl Streep) coping with the terminal illness of her best male friend (Ed Harris), "The Hours" allowed its stars to shine and transitioned nimbly between the three storylines in different historical eras without feeling forced or gimmicky. Daldry's skill with both his actresses and his storytelling technique was recognized with a wealth of critical accolades and awards nods, including an Academy Award nomination as Best Director.

In 2005, Daldry began development on a high-profile adaptation of Michael Chabon's best-selling novel, The Adventures of Kavalier and Clay, but found himself bogged down by studio meddling. Meanwhile, he turned his attention back to theater, directing "Billy Elliot: The Musical" (2005) in London's famed West End. The musical was a hit, earning nine Olivier Award nominations and winning four, including Best New Musical. Because of its success, "Billy Elliot" opened internationally, first, at Sydney, Australia's Capital Theatre in 2007, followed by a run on Broadway at the Imperial Theater in 2008. After a six-year hiatus, Daldry directed his third feature length film, "The Reader" (2008), a somber period drama set in post-World War II Germany about a complicated romance between a 15-year-old boy (David Kross) and a mysterious woman (Kate Winslet) twice his age. Hailed by critics, "The Reader" earned some early award buzz for Daldry, who earned Best Director nods at both the Golden Globes and Academy Awards. He followed up with "Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close" (2011), which chronicled a 10-year-old boy's (Thomas Horn) quest to find a lockbox after his father (Tom Hanks) dies in the terrorist attacks on 9/11.

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Filmographyclose complete filmography

DIRECTOR:

1.
  Trash (2015)
3.
  Reader, The (2008)
4.
  The Hours (2002) Director
5.
  Billy Elliot (2000) Director
6.
  Via Dolorosa (1999) Stage Director
7.
  Eight (1998) Director

CAST: (feature film)

1.
VIEW THE FULL FILMOGRAPHY

Milestones close milestones

:
Joined youth drama group in Taunton, England
1985:
Worked as associate artist for Crucible Theatre in Sheffield
1988:
Acted in a production of "Prometheus in Evin"
1989:
Began directing stage productions at The Gate Theater in West London; remained associated with The Gate until 1992
:
Served as artistic director at the Royal Court Theater
1992:
Directed the revival of "An Inspector Calls" for the National Theatre's Lyttelton Theatre
1994:
Made Broadway debut with the acclaimed revival of "An Inspector Calls"
1995:
Staged the acclaimed revival of "Rat in the Skull," starring Tony Doyle and Rufus Sewell
1996:
Helmed a BBC documentary on The Royal Court Theatre
:
Formed Stephen Daldry Productions
1998:
Co-directed the short film "Eight"; received a BAFTA nomination
1998:
Directed David Hare in the one-person show "Via Dolorosa" in London and on Broadway
2000:
Feature film debut as director, "Billy Elliot"; earned an Academy Award nomination for directing
2000:
Directed the British stage production of "Far Away" at The Royal Court Theater
2002:
Helmed second film, an adaptation of Michael Cunningham's Pulitzer-winning novel "The Hours"; received Golden Globe, BAFTA and Oscar nominations for directing
2005:
Directed a stage musical adaptation of "Billy Elliot" in London's West End
2008:
Directed the film adaption of Bernhard Schlink's "The Reader," starring Ralph Fiennes and Kate Winslet
2008:
Nominated for the 2008 Golden Globe Award for Best Director - Motion Picture ("The Reader")
2009:
Nominated for the 2008 Academy Award for Best Achievement in Directing ("The Reader")
2008:
Once again directed "Billy Elliot, The Musical" when it transferred to Broadway
2011:
Helmed the 9/11 drama "Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close," adapted from Jonathan Safran Foer's 2005 novel; starred Tom Hanks and Sandra Bullock
VIEW ALL MILESTONES

Education

University of Sheffield: Sheffield , England -

Notes

"To his admirers, Daldry is a hyeractive bubble of charm, brains and balls. . . ." --From the London Times, September 2, 1998.

"At a very basic level, Stephen took a total nonactor and taught me the craft. From the first day, he was saying, 'You cannot do this as an animated lecture; you have to act it, whatever it means.' And I basically recoiled. But Stephen made it clear that unless I put myself on the line and made myself the subject, the play wouldn't work. He was forever encouraging me to be bolder and more emotional." --David Hare on his collaboration with Daldry on "Via Dolorosa", quoted in The New York Times, March 14, 1999.

On his approach to his first film, Daldry told the Los Angeles Times (January 23, 2000): "My plan on this was quite consciously to go with a vey simple filmic language, just to learn what the language was. I decided not to try to be very clever, not to do self-conscious shots or move the camera around for no particular reason. It's not that I son't like films like that. I do. But for a first-time film director, the danger is in trying to run before you can walk."

About "Billy Elliot", Daldry told The Guardian (October 3, 2000): "To be frank about it, it was - is - a small budget British film that faced struggles in its making. But it was also a good working context, in that it became very special to the people working on it. It was a real surprise the way the Cannes audience responded to it; in Croatia they responded in the same way. I've just come back from three weeks touring it in the US, and it amazes me that what is essentially a small British film can have such a cross-cultural, cross-nationality reaction."

Companions close complete companion listing

companion:
Ian MacNeil. Set designer. Son of TV commentator Robert MacNeil; English; attended college in Hartford, Connecticut.
wife:
Lucy Daldry. American; had been a longtime friend of Daldry's; married in NYC in September 2001.

Bibliography close complete biography

"A Director Calls: Stephen Daldry and the Theatre" University of California Press

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