Family & Companions
Fresh out of USC's film school, this assured director of features and TV captured the attention of Steven Spielberg with his student film, "Last Chance Dance." Joanou made his commercial directing debut with "Santa '85" (NBC, 1985), an amusing episode of Spielberg's fantasy anthology series, "Amazing Stories," about St. Nick's unfortunate arrest for breaking and entering. Joanou was invited back to the series to direct John Lithgow's Emmy Award-winning performance in "The Doll" (NBC, 1986), a sentimental romantic fantasy. He segued to features with "Three O'Clock High" (1987), a likable teen comedy that was greatly abetted by Joanou's manic and inventive camera movements and staging. Shifting to the reality mode, Joanou crafted "U2 Rattle and Hum" (1988), a technically assured if uninspired record of the Irish rock group's 1987 "Joshua Tree" tour of the US.
Joanou returned to fiction (albeit reality-based) with "State of Grace" (1990), a moody and violent story about Irish-American gangsters in NYC's Hell's Kitchen. Outstanding performances by Sean Penn, Ed Harris, and Gary Oldman helped make this the director's strongest film to date. Joanou returned to TV to cast a documentarian's eye upon American childhood with "Age Seven in America" (CBS, 1992), a special modeled on producer-director Michael Apted's acclaimed British series "Seven Up," which profiled and interviewed a group of subjects every seven years beginning in 1962. Joanou's follow-up was the uneven Hitchcockian homage "Final Analysis" (1992) starring Richard Gere, Kim Basinger, and Uma Thurman. Joanou spent the next year helming stylish installments of the ultra-cool TV miniseries "Wild Palms" (ABC) and "Fallen Angels" (Showtime). In 1996, he returned to the big screen with the thriller "Heaven's Prisoners," a character study about a retired Louisiana homicide detective (Alec Baldwin) who becomes enmeshed in a mystery.
Director (Feature Film)
Cinematography (Feature Film)
Writer (Feature Film)
Producer (Feature Film)
Editing (Feature Film)
Special Thanks (Feature Film)
"Discovered" by Steven Spielberg who was impressed by his student film "Last Chance Dance" (date approximate)
TV directing debut, "Santa '85", an episode of NBC's "Amazing Stories" executive produced by Spielberg
Directed John Lithgow in an Emmy Award-winning performance in "The Doll", an episode of "Amazing Stories"
Feature directing debut, "Three O'Clock High", a teen comedy
Directed, edited, and served as a camera operator for the documentary, "U2 Rattle and Hum", a concert film
Made "State of Grace", a portrait of Irish-American gangsters in NYC's Hell's Kitchen
Helmed "Age Seven in America", a CBS documentary modeled on Michael Apted's acclaimed British series "Seven Up" wherein a group of subjects are interviewed and profiled every seven years
Directed the concluding segment of the cultish sci-fi miniseries "Wild Palms" (ABC)
Helmed "Dead-End For Delia", a segment for the Showtime anthology series, "Fallen Angels"
Returned to features with "Heaven's Prisoners", a muddy thriller with Alec Baldwin as a New Orleans detective
Directed the 3-D segments of the season-ending episode of the hit NBC sitcom "3rd Rock From the Sun"
Wrote and directed the autobiographical film "Entropy" which detailed his spur-of-the-moment marriage
Directed "Gridiron Gang" a drama inspired by a 1993 documentary that follows a probation officer (The Rock) who forms a football team of juvenile inmates