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Abel Ferrara

Abel Ferrara

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Bad Lieutenant: Special Edition... How low can a man sink? Find out in Abel Ferrara’s unflinching crime drama, Bad... more info $14.98was $14.98 Buy Now

Cat Chaser DVD Don't look back: just run. Director Abel Ferrara brings Elmore Leonard's brittle... more info $9.98was $9.98 Buy Now

King Of New York DVD Drug lord Frank White (Christopher Walken) takes from the rich to give to the... more info $14.98was $14.98 Buy Now

New Rose Hotel DVD Enter a world of espionage and intrigue in Abel Ferrara's adaptation of a... more info $29.98was $29.98 Buy Now

Also Known As: Jimmy Laine Died:
Born: July 19, 1951 Cause of Death:
Birth Place: Bronx, New York, USA Profession: director, songwriter, screenwriter, editor

Biography CLOSE THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

A prolific independent filmmaker with a penchant for graphic sex and violence, director Abel Ferrara developed a strong following for his highly atmospheric, stylized portraits of an ultra-violent and crime-ridden New York City with gritty movies like "King of New York" (1990) and "Bad Lieutenant" (1992). Often working in collaboration with out-of-bounds actors like Harvey Keitel, Christopher Walken and Willem Dafoe, Ferrara rose above the seedy sex and violence to metaphorical and often allegorical levels by exploring good and evil, often through the use of religious iconography. Aided by screenwriting partner and childhood friend Nicholas St. John, he rose to prominence in the indie world with exploitation movies "Driller Killer" (1979) and "Ms. 45" (1980), and even had a brief brush with the mainstream by directing episodes of "Miami Vice" (NBC, 1984-89) and "Crime Story" (NCB, 1986). But it was "King of New York" and "Bad Lieutenant" that earned him a great deal of respect despite their sordid subject matter, the latter of which many considered to be Ferrara's masterpiece. After running into trouble with Madonna on "Dangerous Game" (1993) and the exquisite period gangster piece "The Funeral"...

A prolific independent filmmaker with a penchant for graphic sex and violence, director Abel Ferrara developed a strong following for his highly atmospheric, stylized portraits of an ultra-violent and crime-ridden New York City with gritty movies like "King of New York" (1990) and "Bad Lieutenant" (1992). Often working in collaboration with out-of-bounds actors like Harvey Keitel, Christopher Walken and Willem Dafoe, Ferrara rose above the seedy sex and violence to metaphorical and often allegorical levels by exploring good and evil, often through the use of religious iconography. Aided by screenwriting partner and childhood friend Nicholas St. John, he rose to prominence in the indie world with exploitation movies "Driller Killer" (1979) and "Ms. 45" (1980), and even had a brief brush with the mainstream by directing episodes of "Miami Vice" (NBC, 1984-89) and "Crime Story" (NCB, 1986). But it was "King of New York" and "Bad Lieutenant" that earned him a great deal of respect despite their sordid subject matter, the latter of which many considered to be Ferrara's masterpiece. After running into trouble with Madonna on "Dangerous Game" (1993) and the exquisite period gangster piece "The Funeral" (1996), he often struggled to find financing. In his later years, Ferrara continued making tough films that often depicted an essentially evil world that nonetheless contained hope for salvation.

VIEW THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

Filmographyclose complete filmography

DIRECTOR:

4.
  Go Go Tales (2007)
5.
  Mary (2005)
6.
  'R Xmas (2001) Director
7.
  New Rose Hotel (1998) Director
8.
  Subway Stories: Tales From the Underground (1997) Director ("Love On The A Train")
9.
  Blackout, The (1997) Director
10.
  Funeral, The (1996) Director

CAST: (feature film)

1.
 Daddy Longlegs (2009)
2.
 Words In Progress (2004) Himself
3.
 At Sundance (1995) Himself
4.
 Ms. 45 (1981) 1st Rapist
5.
 Driller Killer, The (1979) Reno Miller
VIEW THE FULL FILMOGRAPHY

Milestones close milestones

:
Moved from Fordham section of the Bronx to Peekskill, NY at age 13
1979:
Inspired by success of "The Texas Chainsaw Massacre" (1975), decided to make "The Driller Killer"; film marked his feature directorial debut and screen writing debut of longtime collaborator Nicholas St. John; also starred, edited, and wrote songs under pseudonym Jimmy Laine
1981:
Second directorial effort, revenge drama "Ms. 45"; also played first rapist, again credited as Jimmy Laine
1985:
Directed two episodes of Michael Mann's "Miami Vice" (NBC) during its debut season
1986:
Helmed two-hour pilot for Michael Mann produced cop series "Crime Story" (NBC)
1990:
Crime thriller "King of New York" featured at various international festivals (including New York) and caught attention of mainstream critics; first collaboration with Christopher Walken
1992:
Directed and co-wrote crime drama "Bad Lieutenant"; repelled by its blasphemous imagery, devout Catholic Nicholas St. John refused to work on film with long-time partner; first collaboration with Harvey Keitel
1993:
Directed erotic drama "Dangerous Game," starring Madonna and Keitel
1994:
Helmed "Body Snatchers", a slick remake of the 1954 classic horror flick
1995:
Returned to low-budget, visceral nature of early work with "The Addiction"; filmed in black and white
1993:
Honored with career retrospective during 22nd annual Rotterdam Film Festival
1996:
Directed period gangster piece "The Funeral"
1997:
Drama feature "The Blackout," starring Mathew Modine debuted at Cannes Film Festival
1997:
Contributed 10-minute segment featuring Rosie Perez ("Love on the A Train") to Jonathan Demme produced HBO anthology "Subway Stories"
1998:
Directed "The New Rose Hotel"; co-scripted with Zoe Lund (who co-wrote "Bad Lieutenant")
2001:
Helmed crime drama "'R Xmas"
2006:
First acting role in 25 years, "Exes"
2008:
Made documentary feature debut with "Chelsea on the Rocks"
2009:
Credited as co-writer in Werner Herzog directed "The Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call ¿ New Orleans," starring Nicolas Cage
2010:
Directed documentary about his old neighborhood "Mulberry St."
VIEW ALL MILESTONES

Education

State University of New York, Purchase: Purchase , New York -
Rockland Community College: Suffern , New York -

Notes

"If I was gonna make an NC-17 film, those people would be dead in the screening room" --Abel Ferrara on the ratings board insisting he cut his films to a more "suitable" R, from the Daily News, October 27, 1993.

"He's fabricated his reputation, Abel loves to provoke people." --Nancy Ferrara on her husband's reputation with the press from The New York Times, January 2, 1994.

"Abel is one of the most interesting visual stylists in contemporary American cinema. He has an extraordinary sense of style in terms of sound and image. Even when his films don't work, he's a bright light on the scene." --Richard Pena, program director of the Film Society of Lincoln Center from The New York Times, January 2, 1994.

When asked if he thinks he's getting better making films: "I hope so. We're tryin' to. We're goin' through some hard times lately, but hopefully we're gettin' better and that's balancin' out how much wear and tear is happenin' to us. Gettin' the money's tough. Real tough. That's the hardest part, financin' the film. Financin' the film on your own fuckin' terms. That's what it's about, man. That's what these movies are about, tryin' to come to terms with your own existence. What else? Be righteous. If you make the movies, you be righteous in your work. For me it's the process of makin' 'em. If the process is righteous, then the films are gonna make sense on some level. This is the business we're in. This is what we chose to do, so I'm not gonna stand here and start bellyachin' about it. That's the fuckin' deal." --Abel Ferrara, GQ, c. 1996 (post-"The Addiction", prior to "The Funeral" shoot).

Ferrara neither confirms nor denies the reports that he once directed porno movies before embarking on his feature career.

Companions close complete companion listing

companion:
Marla Hanson. Model, actor, producer, screenwriter. Associate producer on "The Addiction"; screenwriting credit on "The Blackout".
wife:
Nancy Ferrara. Actor. Appeared in "Dangerous Game".

Family close complete family listing

daughter:
Endira Ferrara. Adopted.
daughter:
Lucy Ferrara. Adopted.

Bibliography close complete biography

"Abel Ferrara: The King of New York" Omnibus Press

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