London-born Iain Softley managed to parlay his early love of music and painting into a career as a feature film director. Directing and designing theater productions as a student at Queen's College, C...
|Jeff Bridges: Building Bridges (2000-2001)||Actor||Interviewee||2000||1|
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|The Wings of the Dove||Director||n/a||2|
|Trap for Cinderella||Director||n/a||2|
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|Directed Kevin Spacey in the sci-fi feature, "K-Pax"|
|Worked for a local documentary unit at Britain's Granada TV|
|Breakthrough feature "The Wings of the Dove"; based on the 1902 novel of the same name by Henry James|
|Made a name for himself directing music videos in Britain|
|Directed the fantasy film "Inkheart," which is based on the book of the same name|
|Helmed the supernatural thriller, "Skeleton Key" with Kate Hudson, Gena Rowlands and John Hurt|
|Joined the BBC in Southampton and made 30 "auteur documentaries" for TV|
|Directed first US-produced film "Hackers" (also executive producer)|
|Feature debut, "Backbeat"; also credited for screenplay|
|At age 18, took a year off school to paint in France|
Softley truly broke out with Hossein Amini's adaptation of the Henry James story "The Wings of the Dove" (1997). His strong pop-culture links caused him to initially shy away from the psychologically complex work of James as "user-unfriendly for adaptation," but he became intrigued by analogies between the plot and the conventions of film noir stories, learning with interest that hard-boiled detective writer Dashiell Hammett had named James among his favorite authors. The fact that the film's denouement takes place in Venice, a city he had visited and painted as a student, clinched the deal for him. As he became immersed in it, Softley recognized "The Wings of the Dove" as a rites-of-passage story too, its love triangle similar to the one at the core of "Backbeat," and ended up directing the handsome costume drama with surprising feeling and empathy.
Four years after "The Wings of the Dove," Softley ventured into science fiction fantasy with "K-PAX" (2001), a well-intentioned, but ultimately saccharine tale about a mental patient (Kevin Spacey) claiming to be an extraterrestrial from the utopian planet of K-PAX. His psychiatrist (Jeff Bridges) tries to cure him of the apparent psychosis, but soon begins doubting his diagnosis and science in general. Though promising deep insight into human nature through its alien protagonist, "K-PAX" left audiences wanting. Another four years passed before Softley released another movie. The versatile director switched gears to helm a supernatural thriller, "The Skeleton Key" (2005), starring Kate Hudson, Gena Rowlands and John Hurt. In the murky bayous of New Orleans, a young hospice worker (Hudson) finds work as the caretaker of the owner of an isolated plantation rumored to be steeped in the mystical forces of voodoo and black magic. But the forces of evil trapped behind an attic door are unleashed, forcing the hospice worker and her patient to flee for their lives.
|University of Cambridge|
|St Benedict's School|
|About Venice as a setting for "The Wings of the Dove" (1997): "The city's like a metaphor itself. It's all light and space and shapes, steeped in atmospheric, rather sinister history. Venice is like a map of a thriller plot. You come to corners and you don't know if you'll meet an assassin round the corner. Nicolas Roeg's film 'Don't Look Now' exploited that brilliantly. Beyond that, I liked the idea of presenting a world that was a map of the inner world of characters and their dilemmas. There was a scene of pagan carnival, and these funereal gondolas gliding along the canals as if on their way to Hades. It was incredibly potent as a setting." - Softley quoted to The Los Angeles Times, Nov. 2, 1997|
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