Accomplishing a rare feat of excellence in two distinct filmmaking disciplines, John Ottman has drawn raves and awards for his clever film editing, all the while remaining one of the most sought-after music composers in Hollywood. His collaboration with acclaimed director, Bryan Singer, on such films as "The Usual Suspects" (1995), "X2: X-Men United" (2003) and "Superman Returns" (2006) helped put this creative force on the Hollywood map.
Ottman was born July 6, 1964 in San Diego, CA, later attending the prestigious University of Southern California School of Cinema-Television. While at college, he struck up a friendship with classmate and future director Bryan Singer. The two of them made their first project together, "The Lion's Den," a short film which they co-directed and Ottman edited. His next project was also with Singer - their first feature film, "Public Access." The low budget story of a drifter who wanders into a small town and dredges up its secrets via a public access channel won the Grand Jury Prize at the Sundance Film Festival in 1993. Despite its praise, the film achieved only a limited theatrical release.
Ottman's next project made the careers of both himself and Singer - the now classic "The Usual Suspects." With Singer directing and Ottman editing and scoring, the film generated critical acclaim and commercial success, and developed a cult following on home video. Ottman went on to win a BAFTA award for Best Editing and a Saturn Award for Best Music in a film.
Ottman's composing career was beginning to take off, even outside the Singer sphere of influence - one of his earliest scores was for the 1996 dark comedy, "The Cable Guy," followed with a few horror films, including the low-budget, straight-to-video, "Snow White: A Tale of Terror,"(1997) starring Sigourney Weaver, and the highly anticipated "Halloween H20," (1998) starring Jamie Lee Curtis. He also scored the short-lived 1998 remake of "Fantasy Island" on ABC, for which he earned an Emmy nomination.
Back to in the Singer fold, Ottman edited his friend's dark film, "Apt Pupil" (1998), a project based on a Stephen King novella, for which Ottman also served as editor. Following the indie success of "Apt," as (bad) luck would have it, Singer was gearing up his next project, "X-Men," (2000) at the same time Ottman was posed to make his directorial debut with the horror flick, "Urban Legends: Final Cut." Released the same year as his friend's superhero flick, the teen slasher film may not have been a critical or even fan-boy favorite, but it provided Ottman with the opportunity to wear three important hats: director, editor and composer.
After scoring the forgettable thrillers "Lake Placid" (1999) and "Eight-Legged Freaks," (2002), Ottman tried his hand at television, scoring the HBO telefilm, "Point of Origin," directed by another repeat Singer collaborator, Newton Thomas Sigel. The ever loyal Singer brought Ottman back with a vengeance, as composer of his blockbuster superhero follow-up, "X-2: X-Men United," (2003) a huge critical and commercial success which outdid even the original's critical reception and box office take. For his work on the franchise's sophomore outing, Ottman won a BMI Film Music Award, as well as a Saturn Award nomination for Best Music in a film.
Ottman soon became an in demand composer even outside of his friend's high profile projects, generating scores for the disappointing horror thriller "Gothika" (2003), "Imaginary Heroes," (2004) the directorial debut of writer Dan Harris (another frequent Singer collaborator), the campy horror film "House of Wax," (2005), and "Kiss, Kiss, Bang, Bang" (2005), the critically acclaimed Robert Downey, Jr. comedy/drama. That same year, Ottman scored big at the box office as composer to yet another Marvel universe, the summertime comic blockbuster, "Fantastic Four."
Realizing his next project could be his defining directorial moment, Singer brought together his "usual suspects" to ensure that "Superman Returns" be the best it could be, so as not to disappoint comic fans nor his idol, "Superman: The Movie" (1978) director, Richard Donner. Ottman was again called upon for double-duty with the quintessential superhero film. In a rare move, the decision was made to incorporate both Ottman's new music with the iconic John Williams-composed "Superman: The Movie" theme.