Former slick-fielding, light-hitting minor league infielder Ron Shelton first tried his hand at sculpture before establishing himself as a screenwriter in the early 1980s and as a leading writer-direc...
|Play It to the Bone||Director||n/a||2|
|White Men Can't Jump||Director||n/a||2|
|Jordan Rides the Bus||Director||n/a||2|
|Bad Boys II||Screen Story||n/a||7|
|Play It to the Bone||Screenwriter||n/a||7|
|The Great White Hype||Screenwriter||n/a||7|
|White Men Can't Jump||Screenwriter||n/a||7|
|The Best of Times||Screenwriter||n/a||7|
|The Pursuit of D.B. Cooper||Associate Producer||n/a||14|
|No Vacancy||Executive Producer||n/a||15|
|Open Season||Executive Producer||n/a||15|
|Blue Chips||Executive Producer||n/a||15|
|Billy Wilder: The Human Comedy (1996-1997)||Actor||Interviewee||1996||1|
|Becoming John Ford||Actor||n/a||1|
|Sports on the Silver Screen (1995-1996)||Actor||Interviewee||1995||1|
|Intimate Portrait: Gladys Knight (2001-2002)||Actor||Interviewee||2001||1|
|Welcome to Hollywood||Actor||n/a||1|
|The N-Word (2002-2003)||Actor||Interviewee||2002||1|
|Play It to the Bone||Director||n/a||2|
|Xxxxxxx: A Contrived Physical Event||Director||n/a||2|
|The Pursuit of D.B. Cooper||Associate Producer||n/a||3000009|
|Play It to the Bone||Screenplay||n/a||4000005|
|Beyond the Game (1999-2000)||Executive Consultant||n/a||1999||12000005|
|Directed the intense cop drama "Dark Blue" from a story by James Ellroy|
|Invested his savings in attending graduate school to study sculpture at the University of Arizona|
|Moved to L.A. (date approximate)|
|Helmed the boxing-themed "Play It to the Bone"; played one-week Oscar qualifying engagement in L.A.|
|Returned to baseball with "Cobb", writing and directing film based on sportswriter Al Stump's experiences with Ty Cobb during the last year of the legendary player's life|
|Executive produced a short film entitled "Sharkskin"|
|Started out at Bluefield in the Appalachian League|
|First feature work, as associate producer of "The Pursuit of D.B. Cooper", directed by Roger Spottiswoode|
|Directorial debut, "Bull Durham"; also scripted|
|Wrote and directed the crime thriller "Hollywood Homicide" starring Harrison Ford|
|Advanced to Stockton (California) Clearwater (Florida), Fort Worth (Texas), and finally, a Triple-A team of the International League, the Rochester Red Wings in Rochester, New York|
|Shared screenplay credit for "Bad Boys 2"|
|First produced script, co-writer on Spottiswoode's "Under Fire"; also served as second unit director|
|Co-wrote (with Tony Hendra) "The Great White Hype", an unsatisfying look at boxing and its promotion|
|Stayed with basketball, providing script for William Friedkin's "Blue Chips"; also served as executive producer|
|Began exhibiting sculpture; subject of one-man show at the Space Gallery in Los Angeles|
|Wrote and directed the golf-themed "Tin Cup", which fell short despite the presence of "Bull Durham" star Kevin Costner|
|Wrote and directed "Blaze", based on the relationship of Louisiana governor Earl Long and famed stripper Blaze Starr|
|Worked at various jobs including digging ditches and dressing mannequins at Sears to support his family|
|Scored big hit as writer-director of basketball flick "White Men Can't Jump"|
|First completed script, "A Player To Be Named Later" landed him an agent; later developed into "Bull Durham"|
|Began writing fiction and screenplays|
|Signed as second baseman by the Baltimore Orioles farm system out of college|
Shelton attended college on a baseball and basketball scholarship and signed with the Baltimore Orioles upon graduation. He worked his way up the ranks of their farm system, eventually reaching the Rochester (NY) Redwings, a Triple-A minor league team just one rung below 'The Show'. Deciding that he lacked the ability to make it to the majors, Shelton quit baseball and went to graduate school at the University of Arizona, earning an MFA in sculpture. Moving to L.A., Shelton enjoyed some success with his art--"large, movable, theatrical pieces"--including a one-man exhibition at the Space Gallery.
Shelton next began writing fiction and screenplays. He found a valuable early mentor in Roger Spottiswoode who directed Shelton's first two produced screenplays, "Under Fire" (1983) and "The Best of Times" (1986). The former was a taut, intelligent political thriller set in Nicaragua while the latter was a sports comedy-drama with Robin Williams and Kurt Russell. These projects not only demonstrated Shelton's breadth but also afforded him an opportunity to get behind the camera as a second unit director. He established himself as an adept writer-director with the 1988 sleeper hit, "Bull Durham", a witty and literate insider's account of both love and minor league ball. Shelton was also responsible for the ambitious but underperforming biopic "Blaze" (1989), based on the notorious relationship between Louisiana governor Earl Long and famed stripper Blaze Starr. The film did provide the first major leading role for Lolita Davidovich, who would go on to become the director's real-life love interest and appear in several of his films ("Cobb," "Play It to the Bone," "Dark Blue" and "Hollywood Homicide" among them).
Shelton scored a solid hit with the street basketball comedy "White Men Can't Jump" (1992) but stumbled with his subsequent sports-related projects. He served as executive producer and provided the screenplay for William Friedkin's "Blue Chips", a surprisingly unconvincing college basketball drama, but fared a little better as the writer-director of the biopic "Cobb" (both 1994). Sort of a "Raging Bull" with a baseball cap, the film told the somewhat one-note story of baseball legend Ty Cobb--embodied by an over-the-top Tommy Lee Jones--whose viciousness on and off the field exceeded his considerable athletic skills. The interplay between Everyman Robert Wuhl (as sportswriter Al Stump) and rabid Jones made this character-driven movie well worth watching.
Shelton has tried to repeat the success of "Bull Durham" and to a lesser degree "White Men Can't Jump", but the far from foolproof winning formula has eluded him. As co-writer (along with Tony Hendra) of "The Great White Hype" (1996), he failed to deliver a knockout punch in a look at the fight game which put all too much pressure on a good cast to bolster shoddy material. "Tin Cup" (1996) shifted the sports focus to golf, reuniting writer-director Shelton with "Bull Durham" star Kevin Costner as a washed-up pro who rediscovers his mojo while romancing a therapist (Rene Russo) and confronting his old rival (Don Johnson) , but the amusing and amiable romantic comedy failed to ignite excitement on par with Shelton and Costner's previous collaboration. In 1999 Shelton again took on the world of prizefighting as writer and director of "Play It to the Bone", this time attempting to explore two quirky boxers (Woody Harrelson and Antonio Bandaras), best friends and rivals who scramble to road-trip to Las Vegas for a potentially lucrative showdown in the ring, with their girlfriends (Lucy Liu and Lolita Davidovich) complictaing matters along the way. Although released for one week in Los Angeles to qualify for Oscar nominations, the film was a mxed bag and failed to generate much critical buzz or box office dollars.
After a brief hiatus, Shelton returned to feature films with a vengeance in 2003, helming the intense cop drama "Dark Blue," based on an original story by noir master James Ellroy and set against the backdrop of the 1992 Los Angeles riots. While Shelton steered Kurt Russell to great heights as a corrupt L.A. detective coming to grips with his dark reality, the initially absorbing film faltered toward the finish line and shifted into a conventional thriller. Shelton also had a hand in the screenplay for the big-budget sequel "Bad Boys 2" as one of three credited (and over a dozen uncredited) writers on the film. In the summer of 2003, Shelton also delivered his first project as writer-director in a long while, the crime drama "Hollywood Homicide" starring Harrison Ford.
|Valentina Shelton||Daughter||born in November 1999; mother is Lolita Davidovich|
|University of Arizona|
|"The rehearsal process is where Shelton defines his fairly freewheeling mode of operation. 'You've got to start with behavior,' he says. 'I don't agree with the school of directors who tell you where to stand and how to behave or who set up shots for lighting. The camera does not exist in my mind until the behavior is right . . ."
"'The camera,' Shelton insists, 'must be motivated by behavior, and not the other way around. Once the behavior is right, we can pretty much figure out what the blocking is so that on the day of shooting, we can make new discoveries, we can let go, we can let it breathe and try new things, because we're coming in with a foundation and an intention. That's the key: knowing the intention in the scene. With that established, I want the actors to find the freedom to try things.'" --quoted by Jeff Silverman in AMERICAN FILM, December 1989
|"I love movies, but what drives me crazy is that in all their technology and slickness, the human balance is lost. Cinematography is often gained at the expense of drama and human emotion. We've been distorted by technology. I'm trying to get life on the screen even though life contradicts the movies by being messy. But if I can explore it spontaneously in a medium so unspontaneous, well that's the best thing I can do." --Shelton in NEW YORK NEWSDAY, March 23, 1992|
|"He has a real voice. He's an intelligent, compassionate, honest writer with a wonderful take on character. He has the ability to imagine complex people and then bring them off the page. He also has an interesting take on powerful women. He genuinely admires women in a way that not all men do." --Roger Spottiswoode in NEW YORK NEWSDAY, March 23, 1992|
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