Following in the footsteps of such A-list directors as David Fincher and McG, young up and coming director Francis Lawrence also began his career helming music videos before taking the leap into featu...
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|Made feature film debut with "Constantine"; based on DC comics Vertigo imprint|
|Directed music videos for Destiny's Child, Jennifer Lopez, Aerosmith, Jay-Z, Ricky Martin, Lauryn Hill and Seal|
|Directed Will Smith in "I Am Legend" a film adaptation of Richard Matheson's 1954 novel|
|Directed the feature adaptation of Sara Gruen's best-selling novel, "Water for Elephants"|
|Was first assistant director on the feature "Marching out of Time" helmed by Anton Vassil|
|Worked as 2nd assistant camera on the feature "Pump up the Volume"|
Born in Vienna, Austria and raised in Los Angeles since he was three, Lawrence got his start making music videos nearly by accident. Growing up in Los Angeles in the 1980s, Lawrence was naturally drawn to filmmaking. In addition to writing screenplays, Lawrence directed his own Super-8 movies in high school. From there, Lawrence attended Loyola Marymount University where he studied filmmaking and continued producing his own short projects. After graduation, Lawrence began shooting music videos in the mid-1990s for an independent label owned by a friend. Five years later, he was directing videos for some of the biggest artists in the business-Aerosmith, Janet Jackson, Britney Spears, Will Smith, Sarah McLachlan and Gwen Stefani to name a few. As Lawrence's reputation in the music video community exploded, so too, did the director's hipness quotient in Hollywood. By the dawn of the new millennium, Lawrence's gifts as a visionary genius had attracted the attention of actress Jennifer Lopez, who at the time, was launching into her very public metamorphosis into the media icon known as J-Lo. By 2004, Lawrence had earned an established track record and a well-earned reputation as one of the most visually talented video directors around.
He soon entered the world of feature filmmaking with his first effort, "Constantine" (2005), a supernatural thriller with religious overtones and a dash of film noir based on the DC Comic book series, Hellblazer. His only challenge to becoming a feature director was the film's star-Keanu Reeves had told manager Warner Bros. executives that he wanted no music video directors-a request that should have eliminated Lawrence from the competition before he stepped foot in the gate. But the director wo d Reeves in a meeting with detailed storyboards and a mind for the complexities of the character. Impressed, Reeves used his carte blanche to get Lawrence the job.
Lawrence was immediately beset by fans of the comic book series who raised hell over the casting of Reeves-they complained he wasn't faithful to the original character, who was blonde and British; the antithesis of Reeves' black-haired Southern Californian dude. But test screenings of the movie were glowing and the comic book purists were forced to accept the former Matrix messiah as the tormented demon hunter obsessed with sending Satan's minions back to hell with the hope of saving his own dark soul. Despite a flurry of stunning special effects-the scenes from hell were some of the most graphic caught on film-and a complex anti-hero, critics were less-than-thrilled with Lawrence's freshman outing: a dark and moody drama rooted in the supernatural, "Constantine" suffered from questionable casting and a disjointed plotline. Financially, however, the film was a success for the rookie director, grossing over $75 million domestically. Meanwhile, Lawrence continued directing music videos and his next feature project, an animated family drama called "Eddie Dickens and the Awful End," was due to be released in 2007. After winning virtually every major award in the medium, it was only a matter of time before Hollywood came calling. In 2005, Lawrence was tapped to direct his first feature - a big-budget adaptation of the DC /Vertigo comic series "Hellblazer". Entitled "Constantine" (after the book's main character,) the film starred Keanu Reeves as the eponymous paranormal investigator, John Constantine. A dark and moody drama rooted in the supernatural, "Constantine" suffered from questionable casting and a disjointed plotline. Financially, however, the film was a resounding success for the rookie director, grossing over $75 million domestically.
|Loyola Marymount University|
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