Family & Companions
A writer, producer and occasional director of highly entertaining genre fare of the 1980s and 90s, Pen Densham specialized in action-adventure with a minor in sci-fi. The son of a lighting camera operator, Densham was born and raised in England. He initially showed an interest in photography, studied at art schools in Bournemouth and Salisbury and eventually made his way to Toronto, Canada in the mid-60s. Shortly after his arrival, he began making short films, some with media guru Marshall McLuhan. He met John Watson and the duo formed Insight Productions, creating films and TV commercials. After earning an Academy Award nomination for Best Short Subject for "Life Times Nine" (1973), Densham and Watson were lured to Hollywood by fellow Canadian Norman Jewison. Through working with Jewison on "F.I.S.T." (1978), Densham met Sylvester Stallone for whom Densham was consultant and montage supervisor on "Rocky II" (1979). Watson and Densham earned a second Oscar nod for Best Short Subject with 1980's "Don't Mess With Bill."
In 1985, Densham, Watson and Richard Barton Lewis formed Trilogy, although their first effort, "The Zoo Gang" (1985), which Densham co-directed and co-wrote with Watson and co-produced with Watson and Lewis, was little seen. Densham began directing features in earnest with "The Kiss" (1988), a horror tale of a curse passed down generation-to-generation with a woman-to-woman kiss. In 1991, Trilogy finally became true Hollywood players when the trio produced the hit films "Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves," with Kevin Costner, and "Backdraft," directed by Ron Howard. Densham and Watson also co-wrote "Robin Hood," for which they were paid $1.2 million by Morgan Creek Prods. Subsequent feature efforts, which Densham produced, however, were not as successful: "Blown Away" (1994) and "Tank Girl" (1995). In 1996, Densham co-produced, directed and adapted a new version of "Moll Flanders" for the big screen. Critics praised the film for its strong performances, particularly Robin Wright in the title role and Stockard Channing as a madam, and its period detail.
Densham was slower to get a foothold in TV. He created and was executive producer of the short-lived 1993 CBS series "Space Rangers," starring Linda Hunt, and co-wrote and was executive producer of "Lifepod" (Fox, 1993), an updated remake of Alfred Hitchcock's "Lifeboat." Densham had better luck with "The Outer Limits" revived as a series for Showtime in 1995, and the subsequent "Poltergeist: The Legacy" (Showtime, Sci-Fi Channel and syndicated, 1996-99).
Director (Feature Film)
Writer (Feature Film)
Producer (Feature Film)
Music (Feature Film)
Special Thanks (Feature Film)
Producer (TV Mini-Series)
Moved to Toronto (date approximate)
Made short film, "Life Times Nine"; earned Oscar nomination
Creative consultant to Sylvester Stallone on "Rocky II"
Insight Productions earned second Oscar nomination with short film "Don't Mess With Bill!"
With Watson, co-directed, co-wrote, and co-produced "The Zoo Gang"
Founded Trilogy Entertainment Group with Richard Barton Lewis and Watson
First solo directing credit, "The Kiss" (also produced)
With Lewis and Watson, produced "Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves" (also co-wrote) and "Backdraft"
Created and produced CBS series "Space Rangers"
At Cannes Film Festival, Trilogy announced joint venture with production companies Majestic and RCS called TRM; venture abandoned in fall
In November, Trilogy announced three-year, six-picture deal with Spelling Pictures
Launched and was executive producer of "The Outer Limits" for Showtime
Co-produced, directed and wrote feature "Moll Flanders" starring Robin Wright
Trilogy's deal with Spelling ended when Spelling abandoned motion picture production; in March, Trilogy signed a three-year, first-look deal with MGM
Wrote, directed and executive produced the TNT biopic, "Houdini"
Served as an executive producer of "The Magnificent Seven" (CBS)