Writer/director Richard Shepard cultivated an eclectic career in the 1990s and 2000s, helming numerous pilots and episodes for series like "Ugly Betty" (ABC 2006-2010) and "Girls" (HBO 2012- ) while also overseeing a string of darkly clever comedy-drama features like "The Matador" (2005) and "Dom Hemingway" (2013). The New York native began working in independent films and cable television before making a minor splash with the psycho-thriller "Oxygen" (1999). A half-decade would pass before he returned to films with "The Matador," a wry comedy with Pierce Brosnan in an impressive turn as a hired killer at the end of his rope. Shepard followed this with "The Hunting Party" (2009) and "I Knew It Was You: Rediscovering John Cazale" (HBO 2009) before scoring another hit with "Dom Hemingway," a crime comedy with Jude Law taking a similar path as Brosnan and playing against type as a vulgar safecracker. Shepard's talent for crafting both polished television and offbeat theatrical releases marked him as one of the most versatile directors in two mediums.
Born in New York City in 1965, Richard Shepard was introduced to movies by his father, who frequently took him to local revival theaters. Shepard began making his own Super 8 shorts while in grade school, and studied filmmaking at New York University, though he did not obtain his degree. His professional career began with direct-to-video and -cable efforts like the offbeat "Cool Blue" (1990) with Woody Harrelson and "The Linguini Incident" (1991) with David Bowie. In the midpoint of the decade, Shepard began to divide his time between television and feature projects, helming episodes of "Remember WENN" (AMC 1996-98) and overseeing such critically praised independent pictures as "Oxygen" (1999), starring his NYU classmate Maura Tierney as a troubled detective on the trail of a psychopath (Adrien Brody).
In 2005, Shepard scored a modest hit with "The Matador," an offbeat dark comedy about the friendship between a hit man (Pierce Brosnan) and a businessman (Greg Kinnear), both in a low point of their respective careers. He soon returned to television to direct and produce the pilot for "Ugly Betty," for which he won an Emmy, as well as episodes of "30 Rock" (NBC 2006-2013) and "Criminal Minds" (CBS 2005- ) before returning to features with "The Hunting Party" (2007), with Richard Gere and Terrence Howard as unorthodox journalists pursuing a Serbian war criminal.
Shepard directed "I Knew It Was You: Rediscovering John Cazale" (HBO, 2009), a well-regarded documentary about the late star of "The Godfather" (1972) and "Dog Day Afternoon." With the project's producers, Sean and Bryan Furst, who also produced "The Matador," Shepard set up his own production company, Ole, which struck a two-year deal at CBS in 2011. He then directed episodes for the third season of "Girls" and earned some of the best notices of his directorial career for "Dom Hemingway" (2013), a black comedy about a criminal (Jude Law) who revives his career after being released from prison.
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Shares first directorial credit on "Cool Blue"
Directs episodes for the "Inside Out" anthology series
First solo feature directorial effort on "The Linguini Incident"
Helms the thriller "Oxygen"
Critical praise for "The Matador"
Emmy and DGA Award for the "Ugly Betty" pilot
Writes and directs "The Hunting Party"
Directs "I Knew It Was You: Rediscovering John Cazale"
Writes and directs "Dom Hemingway"