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Stephen Frears

Stephen Frears

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The Queen DVD Helen Mirren reigns supreme in The Queen, a witty and ingenious look at a moment... more info $9.98was $9.98 Buy Now

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Also Known As: Stephen Arthur Frears Died:
Born: June 20, 1941 Cause of Death:
Birth Place: Leicester, England, GB Profession: director, actor

Biography CLOSE THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

Armed with a keen visual awareness and compelling ability to tell a story, director Stephen Frears became established in British cinema and television during the 1970s and 1980s before receiving international acclaim for "My Beautiful Laundrette" (1986). From there, Frears balanced careers in both America and his native England, helming the critically acclaimed British biopic "Prick Up Your Ears" (1987), while pushing boundaries with the lavish "Dangerous Liaisons" (1988). He went on to helm one of the best neo-noirs of the postmodern age, "The Grifters" (1990), which earned some of the best praise of his career. Though he no doubt could have further developed his Hollywood credentials, Frears instead returned to England to direct smaller indies like "The Snapper" (1993) and "The Van" (1996). His return to the studio fold proved disastrous with "Mary Reilly" (1996), a commercial and critical flop that marked one of the few low points of his career. Frears soon bounced back with a sharp adaptation of countryman Nick Hornby's "High Fidelity" (2000), before earning more critical acclaim for his smart thriller "Dirty Pretty Things" (2003). With "The Queen" (2006), arguably one of his finest...

Armed with a keen visual awareness and compelling ability to tell a story, director Stephen Frears became established in British cinema and television during the 1970s and 1980s before receiving international acclaim for "My Beautiful Laundrette" (1986). From there, Frears balanced careers in both America and his native England, helming the critically acclaimed British biopic "Prick Up Your Ears" (1987), while pushing boundaries with the lavish "Dangerous Liaisons" (1988). He went on to helm one of the best neo-noirs of the postmodern age, "The Grifters" (1990), which earned some of the best praise of his career. Though he no doubt could have further developed his Hollywood credentials, Frears instead returned to England to direct smaller indies like "The Snapper" (1993) and "The Van" (1996). His return to the studio fold proved disastrous with "Mary Reilly" (1996), a commercial and critical flop that marked one of the few low points of his career. Frears soon bounced back with a sharp adaptation of countryman Nick Hornby's "High Fidelity" (2000), before earning more critical acclaim for his smart thriller "Dirty Pretty Things" (2003). With "The Queen" (2006), arguably one of his finest achievements, particularly in drawing an exemplary performance from star Helen Mirren, Frears cemented his place as one of England's most diverse and celebrated directors.

VIEW THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

Filmographyclose complete filmography

DIRECTOR:

2.
  Philomena (2013)
3.
4.
5.
  Chéri (2009)
6.
  Queen, The (2006)
7.
  Mrs. Henderson Presents (2004) Director
8.
  Deal, The (2004) Director
9.
  Dirty Pretty Things (2002) Director
10.
  High Fidelity (2000) Director

CAST: (feature film)

1.
 Chéri (2009)
3.
 Howard Hawks: American Artist (1997) Narration
4.
 Long Shot (1978) Biscuit Man
5.
 Great Directors (2010)
6.
 Forever Ealing (2002)
VIEW THE FULL FILMOGRAPHY

Milestones close milestones

1964:
Directed "Waiting for Godot" and "Inadmissible Evidence" for the Royal Court Theatre in London, England
1966:
Was an assistant director on Karel Reisz's "Morgan"
1967:
Directed "The Burning," a half-hour film made for the British Film Institute's Production Board
1967:
Served as assistant director to Albert Finney on Finney's directorial debut "Charlie Bubbles"
1968:
Assisted director Lindsay Anderson in the film "If...."
1971:
Directed first feature "Gumshoe," starring Finney and written by Neville Smith; commissioned original score from Andrew Lloyd Webber
1971:
Directed first TV film scripted by playwright Alan Bennett, "A Day Out" (BBC)
1972:
Re-teamed with writer Neville Smith for "Match of Day"
1975:
Collaborated with playwright Tom Stoppard on BBC film "Three Men in a Boat"
1978:
Appeared as the 'Biscuit Man' in Maurice Hatton's "Long Shot"
1983:
Directed ITV movie "Saigon: Year of the Cat," scripted by David Hare; also received theatrical release
1984:
Helmed thriller "The Hit"; contained memorable theme music composed by Eric Clapton
1985:
Helmed breakthrough feature "My Beautiful Laundrette," first collaboration with screenwriter Hanif Kureishi
1987:
Re-teamed with Kureishi on "Sammy and Rosie Get Laid"
1987:
Re-teamed with Bennett, who scripted for the Joe Orton biopic "Prick Up Your Ears"
1988:
Directed first U.S. film "Dangerous Liaisons"; first collaboration with Christopher Hampton, who had first adapted the 18th-century French novel <i>Les Liaisons dangereuses</i> for the stage
1990:
First film with actor John Cusack, "The Grifters"; earned an Academy Award nomination for Best Director
1992:
Third U.S. feature, "Hero," starring Dustin Hoffman Geena Davis, and Andy Garcia; reportedly feuded on set with star Hoffman
1993:
Returned to England to direct the low-budget film "The Snapper"; adapted by Roddy Doyle from his novel about a working-class Irish family
1995:
Co-directed (with Mike Dibb) the documentary "Typically British"
1996:
Re-teamed with actor Malkovich and writer Hampton for "Mary Reilly"
1996:
Re-teamed with Doyle for "The Van"
1997:
Narrated documentary "Howard Hawks: American Artist"
1998:
Helmed Western "The Hi-Lo Country," starring Billy Crudup and Woody Harrelson
2000:
Re-teamed with Cusack for "High Fidelity"; Cusack co-adapted Nick Hornby's novel, changing the setting from London to Chicago, IL
2000:
Directed CBS remake of "Fail Safe," a live, two-hour, black-and-white adaptation of the bestselling 1962 Cold War novel by Henry Wheeler and Eugene Burdick; George Clooney starred and was one of the executive producers; received an Emmy nomination
2000:
Garnered good reviews for the small-scale feature "Liam"
2002:
Directed "Dirty Pretty Things," starring Audrey Tautou as an illegal immigrant in London
2005:
Directed "Mrs. Henderson Presents," starring Judi Dench as wealthy British widow Laura Henderson who bought and ran the famous Windmill Theatre
2006:
Helmed "The Queen," an intimate, behind-the-scenes glimpse at the interaction between Queen Elizabeth II (Helen Mirren) and British Prime Minister Tony Blair (Michael Sheen) during their struggle following the death of Princess Diana; received Golden Globe, Directors Guild of America and Oscar nominations for Best Director
2009:
Re-teamed with Michelle Pfeiffer and Christopher Hampton for " Chéri"; both Pfeiffer and Hampton collaborated with Frears on "Dangerous Liaisons"
2012:
Directed Bruce Willis, Rebecca Hall, and Catherine Zeta-Jones in comedy feature "Lay the Favorite"; film based on memoir by Beth Raymer
VIEW ALL MILESTONES

Education

Gresham's School: - 1954 - 1959
University of Cambridge: Cambridge , England - 1960 - 1963

Notes

Created an Officer of the Order of Arts and Letters by the French government in 1998

About winning the race to be the first director to release a film based on Choderlos de Laclos' 1782 novel "Les Liaisons Dangereuses": "It's amazing what you can do when you've got an Oscar-winning director staring over your shoulder.

"I knew that Milos [Forman, who was simultaneously helming "Valmont"] takes a long time to make his movies. But it does work wonders--I mean, it's a very good thing to have somebody else making the same film a few days later after you. I would thoroughly recommend it as a way of geting things done." --Stephen Frears quoted in The New York Times Magazine, December 18, 1988.

"This black hole that people talk about in my career in the 70s, when I didn't make any films--in retrospect what I was doing was learning my job. But I was learning it on very, very good material. We were, as they say, grinding it out, but we were doing it with the very best writers and the very best actors.

"In the BBC, we were trained that it was the writer's voice we were filming; I know that's clearly not the case in America, but it's not my job to alter a writer's story.

"I wouldn't cross the road if a script isn't good." --Frears in The New York Times Magazine, December 18, 1988.

"I didn't want to go into filmmaking. I went into theater because a couple of actors came into town, and I just wanted to run away and join them. Then I met a film director and he said come and work on my film. I went and worked on his film. That was the first time I was ever on a film set. It wasn't at all a plan. It wasn't like it is now. There weren't people called film directors in those days. Film directors weren't part of normal life. That is all quite new. Films were things you saw in the cinema. They weren't made by people I knew. They came by magic." --Frears to Michelle Bryant in FP West Calendar, December 1998.

Why he does not go back and look at his previous work: "All you ever do is wonder if someday you'll lose your talent. That's what I lie in bed and worry about. I might look at something and say, 'God, I can't do that anymore.'" --Frears to The Washington Post, January 10, 1999.

On his entry to the Western genre, "The Hi-Lo Country", adapted by Walon Green from Max Evans' 1961 novel celebrating both the end of the true cowboy era and the author's friendship with fellow cowboy Big Boy Matson: "It's really about the mythology and the reality. This is not a kid's cowboy movie, it's a grown-up film ...

"My head was full of all those stories about [Howard] Hawks bringing Montgomery Clift out to act opposite John Wayne in 'Red River' and the contrast between them. That was what I was looking for. Woody [Harrelson] was a country boy, an outsider in the right way and charismatic. Billy [Crudup]'s a New York actor, he's pretty young but he looks as though he's experienced something of life. What you realise is that these people are strong and silent; they don't sit around and discuss their feeling or emotions as we do today, and the landscape becomes the way you tell the emotional story of the character." --quoted in the London Times of London, July 21, 1999.

Companions close complete companion listing

wife:
Mary Kay Wilmers. Editor. Married c. 1966; divorced 1975; mother of Frears' two older sons.
companion:
Annie Rothenstein. Painter. Together since c. 1974; mother of one son and one daughter.

Family close complete family listing

father:
Russell E Frears. Physician, accountant.
mother:
Ruth M Frears. Social worker. Jewish.
son:
Will Frears. Aspiring director; as of 1999, enrolled in the masters program at the Yale School of Drama.

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