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John Lee Hancock

John Lee Hancock

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Also Known As: Died:
Born: Cause of Death:
Birth Place: Longview, Texas, USA Profession: screenwriter, director, production coordinator, assistant director, location scout, freelance writer

Biography CLOSE THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

The "feel good movie" may never have had a bigger proponent than John Lee Hancock. As a writer, director, and producer of high profile feature films, Hancock introduced his earnest and often sentimental sensibilities to sports movies like "The Rookie" (2002) and "The Blind Side" (2009), show business pictures like "Saving Mr. Banks" (2013), and the occasional fairy tale jaunt, including "Maleficent" (2014). Achieving big numbers at the box office and awards recognition in the process, Hancock established himself over the course of his decades in the filmmaking game as a reliable perpetrator of crowd-pleasing entertainment. Although intermittent attempts at darker and more severe material proved substantially less fortuitous, Hancock powered through these missteps to become a veritable fixture in the family-directed film community.John Lee Hancock Jr. was born in Longview, Texas on December 15, 1956, and grew up in a "football family" that included father John Lee Hancock Sr., a letterman for Baylor University in the early 1950s, brother Joe who played center at Vanderbilt University, and brother Kevin who played professionally as linebacker for the Chicago Bears between 1981 and 1984. Like his...

The "feel good movie" may never have had a bigger proponent than John Lee Hancock. As a writer, director, and producer of high profile feature films, Hancock introduced his earnest and often sentimental sensibilities to sports movies like "The Rookie" (2002) and "The Blind Side" (2009), show business pictures like "Saving Mr. Banks" (2013), and the occasional fairy tale jaunt, including "Maleficent" (2014). Achieving big numbers at the box office and awards recognition in the process, Hancock established himself over the course of his decades in the filmmaking game as a reliable perpetrator of crowd-pleasing entertainment. Although intermittent attempts at darker and more severe material proved substantially less fortuitous, Hancock powered through these missteps to become a veritable fixture in the family-directed film community.

John Lee Hancock Jr. was born in Longview, Texas on December 15, 1956, and grew up in a "football family" that included father John Lee Hancock Sr., a letterman for Baylor University in the early 1950s, brother Joe who played center at Vanderbilt University, and brother Kevin who played professionally as linebacker for the Chicago Bears between 1981 and 1984. Like his father, John Lee Hancock attended Baylor University, graduating with an English degree in 1979. He continued his academic career at Baylor Law School, graduating with a law degree in 1982.

Hancockâ¿¿s first job in filmmaking came as a production assistant on the little seen horror comedy "My Demon Lover" (1987), and he wouldnâ¿¿t enter the business wholeheartedly until after the turn of the decade. For his second project, however, Hancock leaped immediately to writing and directing. He helmed the screwball rom-com "Hard Time Romance" (1991), starring Leon Rippy, Tom Everett, and Mariska Hargitay in principal roles.

For the duration of the decade to follow "Hard Time Romance," Hancock would focus his energies primarily on screenwriting. Throughout the 1990s, Hancock penned two more feature film scripts, both for director Clint Eastwood. The first was "A Perfect World" (1993), a crime thriller costarring Eastwood alongside Kevin Costner and Laura Dern. The second was "Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil" (1997), a mystery film starring Kevin Spacey and John Cusack.

Following his collaborations with Eastwood, Hancock attempted a career in small screen production. He created the medical drama "L.A. Doctors" (CBS 1998-99) which, despite only lasting one season, did earn a People's Choice Award for Favorite New Dramatic Television Series. He executive produced and directed an even shorter-lived series soon after: the crime-drama show "Falcone" (CBS 2000).

Next up was Hancockâ¿¿s first bona fide hit, the underdog baseball movie "The Rookie" (2002), which he directed from a script by "Finding Forrester" (2000) writer Mike Rich. The Dennis Quaid-starrer foreshadowed Hancockâ¿¿s future thriving with sweet, sentimental films, though Hancock was hardly immune to hurdles at this point. His next movie, "The Alamo" (2004), was in fact a colossal box office bomb.

The fiscal failings of "The Alamo" didnâ¿¿t keep Hancock down for long. After the native Texan penned and helmed the historical war film, he turned his interests to a more contemporary story set in the American South, and to great fortune: "The Blind Side" (2009), his second sports movie and first taste of Academy Award interest. The film scored a nomination for Best Picture, and earned its star Sandra Bullock a victory for Best Actress.

Hancock filled up his schedule over the next few years, splitting his talents between different films. He wrote the critically maligned by fiscally successful fairy tale update "Snow White and the Huntsman" (2012), directed the P.L. Travers story "Saving Mr. Banks" (2013)â¿¿which earned star Emma Roberts a Best Actress nominationâ¿¿and contributed late-production directorial assistance to Angelina Jolieâ¿¿s box office smash "Maleficent" (2014).

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Filmographyclose complete filmography

DIRECTOR:

1.
2.
3.
4.
  Alamo, The (2004) Director
5.
  Rookie, The (2002) Director
6.
  Vaya Con Dios (1991) Director

CAST: (feature film)

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Milestones close milestones

:
Grew up in Texas
:
Worked as a lawyer for four years prior to making his decision to embark on a film career
:
Served as production coordinator, location scout and assistant director
:
Worked as freelance writer for the <i>European Press Association</i> and <i>Alpha Press</i>
:
Member of the Fountainhead Theater Company in Los Angeles
:
Founded the Los Angeles based, Legal Aliens Theatre Company, along with Brandon Lee, Bill Allen and George Davis
1991:
Feature film directing and screenwriting debut, "Vaya Con Dios" (also known by "Hard Time Romance")
1993:
First collaboration with director Clint Eastwood, the screenplay for "A Perfect World"
1997:
Re-teamed with Eastwood to write the screen adaptation of "Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil"
1998:
Created and wrote the pilot for the CBS drama series "L.A. Doctors"
2000:
Produced the family film "My Dog Skip"
2002:
Directed Dennis Quaid in "The Rookie"
2004:
Wrote and directed the American war film "The Alamo"
2009:
Wrote and directed "The Blind Side," based on the 2006 book by Michael Lewis
2012:
Co-wrote screenplay for "Snow White and the Huntsman"
2013:
Wrote and directed "Saving Mr. Banks."
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Education

Baylor University: Waco , Texas -
Baylor University: Waco , Texas -

Notes

"John is one of the unsung heroes. He took a story with a multitude of characters and streamlined and condensed it. But at the same time the quality that John was able to enhance, and Clint [Eastwood] as the director embraced, is the level of ambiguity in terms of what really did happen the night of the incident. The audience sees three different versions, but only as flashbacks and from certain points of view. So at the end of the film when John Cusack's character asks 'what really did happen that night?', it's more of a real question than a rhetorical one." --Kevin Spacey, praising Hancock's adaptation of the John Berendt book in "Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil" press kit

"A beautiful black cat that no one claims to own has been hanging around the set since we arrived at Mercer House. Though thin he doesn't seem hungry, thirsty or in any special need of human compassion. The only people he likes are Kevin [and only when he's in wardrobe as Jim Williams] and Jim's nieces, Amanda and Susan.

"Thus we have decided, Amanda, Susan and myself, that the cat is actually Jim returning home to oversee the shoot. In fact we have to keep all the doors to the house closed lest the cat [as it has on several occasions] enter, head for the drawing room and lounge in Jim's favorite chair. I'm not a real supernatural groupie, but I'll surely convert when the cat starts drinking vodka tonics and smoking Tiparillos ...

"A week or so after the wrap I started to go through and catalogue video interviews with the real Savannahians in the story ... there was some footage of the aforementioned black cat, lying lazily on the sidewalk beside Mercer House, his chin up as a soft breeze washed over his face.

"It seems the video cameraman, while loading up his gear, saw the cat and found its regal pose interesting in relation to the mansion. When I ask the cameraman, who knew nothing of the cat's purported former life, about the footage he told me, 'He [the cat] looked at me like I was trespassing. Like he owned the place or something.'

"Indeed." --John Lee Hancock, from his diary kept for the Los Angeles Times (November 16, 1997) about the shooting of "Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil"

Companions close complete companion listing

wife:
Molly Hancock.

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