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John Stockwell

John Stockwell revels in moral complexity. Whether creating a drama about the inventors of the silicone breast implant, or a teacher instructing his students to lie and cheat, or a sexually aggressive teenage girl finding redemption through love, Stockwell embraces the opportunity to bring challenging material and unconventional characters to the screen. For this reason, Stockwell is one of the busiest men in Hollywood, currently working on several wide-ranging, yet equally novel projects.

Stockwell segues from teenage angst in crazy/beautiful to rock ‘n' roll celebrity with the September release Rock Star, which he wrote for Warner Bros. Directed by Stephen Herek (Mr. Holland's Opus), it is a rollicking comedy about the obsessed lead singer of a heavy metal tribute band who lands the gig of his dreams. Much to the chagrin of his friends and family, Stockwell spent months immersing himself in heavy metal culture to obtain the script's gritty authenticity. With a talented ensemble cast headed by Mark Wahlberg and Jennifer Aniston, Rock Star should be one of the season's most highly anticipated films.

Also on the horizon for Stockwell are three diverse projects in various stages of development. Columbia Pictures' I Would Die For You, which Stockwell will rewrite and direct, is a smart and sexy thriller about a young man struggling with the virtues of commitment and monogamy and how a fatal misstep comes back to haunt him. The film is expected to go into production at the end of the year. He also is set to rewrite and direct Surf Girls for Imagine Entertainment and Universal. The story is a romance set against the world of big-wave surfing. Lastly, Stockwell is currently re-writing (with original screenwriter Elisa Bell) and will direct Your Life Is Now for Marc Platt at Universal, a carefully observed character piece about a recent college graduate's struggle to find her place in the world.

Stockwell's present reign of success began in 1997, when he wrote the HBO docudrama Breast Men, starring David Schwimmer, Chris Cooper, Emily Procter and Louise Fletcher. Based on a true story about the rise and eventual fall of the two Texas doctors who invented silicone breast implants, it was singled out for its frank and even-handed treatment of a very public and controversial subject. Stockwell followed that with HBO's critically acclaimed Cheaters -- which he also directed -- a dark, twisted morality tale about the real-life Chicago high school English teacher who persuaded his students to cheat in the 1995 Illinois Academic Decathlon. Bringing together a gifted ensemble of veteran and up-and-coming actors including Jeff Daniels, Paul Sorvino and Jena Malone Stockwell crafted a bracing, emotionally resonant drama that compelled viewers to redefine their ideas of right and wrong, garnering him an Emmy nomination in the process.

Stockwell's intuitive verité style, and his facility with both established and rising young talent, stem in part from his many years as an actor. After earning his undergraduate degree at Harvard, Stockwell entered New York University's filmmaking program, but gave that up in favor of a real-world education. While performing in a string of features and television movies Losin' It, Christine, Top Gun, North and South, Billionaire Boys Club Stockwell watched, eavesdropped, asked questions, took notes and generally made a pest of himself on the set, all in an effort to learn everything he could about being a filmmaker.

Stockwell and his family live in Los Angeles.

Note: This profile was written in or before 2000.

John Stockwell Facts

Birth NameJohn Samuels IV
BirthdayMarch 25, 1961 (62)
BirthplaceGalveston, Texas, USA

Selected Filmography

Top Gun
They Nest
Cinderella Man
Gatling Gun
John Grisham's The Rainmaker
The Manchurian Candidate
My Science Project
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