From the debut of his short film "Coffee and Cigarettes" at the 1993 Sundance Film Festival, Paul Thomas Anderson firmly established himself as an auteur to watch. An ambitious film that focused on fi...
Studio City, California, USA
|The Inside Reel: Digital Filmmaking||2001 2000 - 2001||Actor||n/a||20017|
|Cigarettes and Coffee||1993||Director||n/a||4|
|There Will Be Blood||2007||Director||n/a||4|
|There Will Be Blood||2007||Producer||n/a||3|
|Sworn to Vengeance||Associate Producer||n/a||1|
|Cigarettes and Coffee||1993||Screenplay||n/a||1|
|There Will Be Blood||2007||Screenplay||(adaptation)||1|
|Wrote and directed "The Master," starring frequent ensemble player Philip Seymour Hoffman|
|Met Philip Baker Hall while working as a production assistant on the PBS special "Campus Culture Wars"|
|Helmed third feature, the ensemble drama "Magnolia"; received an Academy Award nomination for Best Original Screenplay|
|Acted as standby director for Robert Altman's "A Prairie Home Companion," presumably for insurance purposes, since Altman was 80 years old at the time; not formally credited in the film, but received a "Special Thanks"|
|Directed two music videos featuring then-companion Fiona Apple, "Across the Universe" and "Fast as You Can"|
|Helmed "There Will Be Blood," an adaptation of Upton Sinclair's novel Oil!, starring Daniel Day-Lewis; earned a DGA nomination for Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Feature Film; also received Oscar nominations for Best Director, Best Adapted|
|Directed short film "Coffee and Cigarettes," starring Philip Baker Hall; film premiered at the 1993 Sundance Film Festival|
|Directed breakout film "Boogie Nights," an expanded version of his early short "The Dirk Diggler Story"; starred Mark Wahlberg, Julianne Moore, and Philip Baker Hall in minor role; earned Oscar nomination for Best Original Screenplay|
|Began career working as a production assistant on music videos and independent films|
|Raised in the San Fernando Valley in Studio City, CA|
|Directed "Punch-Drunk Love," starring Adam Sandler and Emily Watson; also scripted|
|Began making movies with a Betamax video camera purchased by his father|
|Made first amateur short film "The Dirk Diggler Story" about a male porn star|
|Reportedly found his father's collection of pornographic tapes at age nine|
|Worked as messenger and production assistant on syndicated game show "Quiz Kid Challenge"|
|Made first full-length feature "Sydney" (retitled "Hard Eight"), starring Philip Baker Hall|
|Briefly attended Emerson College; dropped out to pursue film career|
Born on June 26, 1970 in Studio City, CA, Anderson was raised in a showbiz household. His father, Ernie, was a successful voiceover artist, best known for being the announcer on "The Love Boat" (ABC, 1977-1986). At nine years old, Anderson stumbled across his father's pornographic video tapes, sparking an interest that later came to fruition later in life. His dad, meanwhile, gave him a Betamax camera when Anderson was 12, which he used to make amateur films. Never one to be interested in school, Anderson was forced to leave the upscale Buckley School after the sixth grade due to fighting and poor grades. He managed to graduate from Montclair College Prep, only to drop out from Emerson College after two semesters as an English major. It was during high school, however, that Anderson made his first substantial film, "The Dirk Diggler Story" (1988), a 30-minute tale centered on a well-endowed porn star, a la John Holmes, trying to break into the business; a precursor to what eventually would become "Boogie Nights."
After high school, Anderson spent the better part of two days at New York University where he took a screenwriting class and subsequently dropped out due to the school's stodgy and formulaic approach. Knowing he was going to leave NYU, Anderson submitted pages from David Mamet's 1992 crime drama "Hoffa" as a gag, just to see what would happen. He received a C-minus. Anderson soon returned home to Southern California, where he began working as a production assistant on a television game show for kids called "Quiz Kid Challenge" (syndicated, 1990-91). After meeting actor Philip Baker Hall while working on a PBS special, Anderson directed the actor in "Coffee and Cigarettes" (1993), a 20-minute short about five people whose lives suddenly intersect in a Las Vegas diner. Anderson was admitted to the Director's Lab at the Sundance Institute, where he expanded on the short into the feature "Hard Eight" (1997), a crime thriller about a hard-bitten loser (John C. Reilly) taken under the wing of a pitying small-time gambler (Hall).
"Hard Eight" premiered at the Cannes Film Festival in 1996 to mainly mixed reviews, thought Hall was given near-unanimous kudos for his portrayal of an older, wiser gambler nearing the end of the line. Anderson ran afoul with the studio after they recut his film without his permission, distributing a movie not in line with his original vision. Anderson made sure to voice his discontent on several occasions, telling interviews, "It was the most painful experience I've gone through." Meanwhile, Anderson went to work on his next filming, writing a mammoth 300-page script for what ultimately become his breakthrough film, "Boogie Nights," an expansion of his 1988 short, "The Dirk Diggler Story." Though centered in the world of pornography, "Boogie Nights" was a coming-of-age story about a San Fernando Valley youth (Mark Wahlberg) with a rather large member who enters an adult film industry in the midst of undergoing the transformation from film to video. Under the guidance of producer and father figure, Jack Horner (Burt Reynolds), and actress Amber Waves (Julianne Moore), the new star - dubbed Dirk Diggler - enjoys enormous fame, only to suffer a downfall brought about by drug addiction. Well-acted on all fronts - both Reynolds and Moore earned Oscar nominations - "Boogie Nights" firmly established Anderson as an auteur on the rise.
Anticipation was high as to how Anderson would follow "Boogie Nights." In an almost unprecedented move, New Line Cinema practically offered him carte blanche, including the coveted final cut most directors are denied. After meeting idol Francis Ford Coppola, who told him to use the moment to make whatever he wanted because it would be his last opportunity, Anderson vaulted headfirst into his next film. Inspired by the songs of Aimee Mann, he wrote the script for what became "Magnolia" (1999), a sprawling, engaging and sometimes befuddling look at several unconnected lives in the San Fernando Valley that collide through chance, human action and perhaps even divine intervention. Comparisons to another influence, Robert Altman, were inevitable; Anderson deftly layered multi-character narratives into a tapestry of near biblical proportions. Once again using his acting favorites Philip Baker Hall, John C. Reilly, William H. Macy, Julianne Moore, Philip Seymour Hoffman and Melora Walters, Anderson succeeded in delivering an ambitious story about fate and redemption that went on to earn several award nominations, including three Oscar nods for Best Supporting Actor (Tom Cruise), Best Original Song ("Save Me" by Aimee Mann) and Best Original Screenplay.
For his next film, "Punch Drunk Love" (2002), Anderson managed to keep his loquacious impulses under control in turning out a taut romantic comedy-drama about Barry (Adam Sandler), a socially inept small business owner henpecked by his seven domineering sisters who force him to constantly question his own manhood. In a moment of loneliness and vulnerability, Barry contacts a phone sex operator who ultimately threatens to blackmail him. Desperate to do something, Barry enlists the help of one of his sisters, who fixes him up with one of her coworkers (Emily Watson). With his emotions going haywire, fluctuating from lust to doubt to uncontrollable anger, Barry becomes willing to do whatever is necessary to change and hopefully have a shot at true romance. Anderson specifically wrote the role of Barry for Sandler; a bold move considering Sandler's pedigree in low-brow comedy. Nonetheless, Anderson earned wide critical praise while winning a Best Director at the 2002 Cannes Film Festival. Anderson also received special kudos for his ability to transform Sandler from frat boy to sympathetic romantic lead.
While Anderson firmly established himself as one of Hollywood's most creatively interesting filmmakers, no one was prepared for him to make a film with such sprawling scope and rich texture as "There Will Be Blood" (2007). Loosely adapted from Upton Sinclair's Oil!, a sympathetic look at the plight of oilfield workers in turn-of-the-century California, "Blood" told the tale of Daniel Plainview (Daniel Day-Lewis), a down-and-out silver prospector who heads out to dusty Little Boston on a mysterious tip-off that leads to striking a rich vein of black gold. But in the hardscrabble little town, a charismatic preacher named Eli Sunday (Paul Dano) stands in the way of Plainview tapping into a lucrative ocean of oil on the preacher's land. What ensues is a battle of wills, as both men struggle to resist the humiliation and deception of the other. "Blood" stood in stark contrast to Anderson's previous work, particularly in light of genre and period. Hailed by many critics as being the best of 2007, the film went on to earn eight Academy Award nominations and won two: one for Day-Lewis as Best Actor and the other for Anderson's long-time collaborator, Robert Elswit, for Best Cinematography. Meanwhile, Anderson took his time making his next project, "The Master" (2012), a period drama about a sex-obsessed veteran (Joaquin Phoenix) struggling to cope with post-traumatic stress disorder and a postwar world. He eventually meets Lancaster Dodd (Philip Seymour Hoffman), the leader of a philosophical movement called "The Cause," and helps him spread his teachings across the country. While not explicit, the film was considered a loose interpretation of L. Ron Hubbard's early days in spreading Scientology, though Anderson incorporated other elements into his script, including early drafts of "There Will Be Blood." Hailed by most critics, "The Master" was yet another awards contender for Anderson and was among the favorites to receive nominations at the Academy Awards.
|Ernie Anderson||Father||Born Nov. 12, 1923; former partner of Tim Conway; Died Feb. 6, 1997|
|Lucille Anderson||Daughter||Born Nov. 6, 2009; mother, Maya Rudolph|
|Pearl Anderson||Daughter||Born Oct. 15, 2005; mother, Maya Rudolph|
|Jack Anderson||Son||Born July 3, 2011; mother, Maya Rudolph|
|Fiona Apple||Companion||Dated c. 1998; No longer together|
|Edwina Gough||Mother||Estranged from son|
|Maya Rudolph||Companion||Began dating 2001|
|Montclair College Prep|
|New York University|
|"I think when the movie gets bigger and costs more and more, it becomes harder to be a control freak. But I'm doing a pretty good job of maintaining all the proper paranoia and control that I should. That's why movie directors wither go crazy or start making crap, because you could lose your mind if you realize that you can make it rain and you can change that sign from red to green. It's a scary thing when you finish shooting a movie and you're still driving a little too fast because you used to be able to drive that fast because you had to get on the set and 'Goddamnit, cars, get out of my way.' You kind of go to a maniacal, egotistical place in your own little mind." - Anderson quoted in Rolling Stone, Feb. 3, 2000|
|"When I watch 'Magnolia' or 'Boogie Nights,' I see Paul in all the characters - the selfish Paul, the caretaking Paul, the little-kid Paul, the mature Paul - he is all those things at a given time, and I see him telling a story about all aspects of himself." - Philip Seymour Hoffman quoted in Rolling Stone, Feb. 3, 2000|
|"I'd be lying if I didn't say that every time you go to make a film, you're desperate to either do it better than you did it last time or to not repeat yourself." - Anderson to the Associated Press, Dec. 3, 2007|
|He was not to be confused with either the British director Paul Anderson ("Shopping," "Mortal Kombat") or the adult film director Paul Thomas who worked for Vivid Video.|
|"As a kid, I became obsessed by pornos. I searched them out, obsessing over the humor and camp - how bad the acting was, how odd it all was. By the time I was 16, I had seen so much that it was no longer funny - it actually became quite sad. [Laughs] That's what 'Boogie Nights' should be doing: It's funny for the first part, but then it transforms."- Anderson quoted in Details, September 1997|
|"One thing that impressed me about him [Anderson] was how specific he was. I've worked with much older directors who were floundering." - Don Cheadle in Premiere, September 1997|
|"He's so in love with everything you do. Paul is obsessed with you while you're working with him. And it makes you free, totally confident." - Gwyneth Paltrow to The New York Times, Oct. 12, 1997|
|"I count Paul among the great directors that I've worked with - Spielberg, Todd Haynes, the Coen Brothers, Louis Malle. He has a very strong sense of what he wants to accomplish as a person and there's a gravity that you don't often find in people his age." - Julianne Moore quoted in Us, February 1999|
|"When Paul Thomas Anderson was 7, growing up in the San Fernando Valley, he wrote in a notebook: 'My name is Paul Anderson. I want to be a writer, producer, director, special effects man. I know how to do everything and I know everything. Please hire me.' Philip Seymour Hoffman, who, like the other members of the Anderson repertory company, is a close friend, says: 'You get the sense that Paul was always a director. He was born to the job.'" - from The New York Times magazine, Dec. 19, 1999|
|"I do feel an obligation to not be a jackass in my life only because that will infringe on the view of the movie. I remember when 'Husbands and Wives' came out and Woody Allen was going through that whole thing and it was so terrible because that was one of his best movies. But everybody would look at it and see all the mistakes he was making - it polluted the movie. I guess my goal is to do everything I can to not pollute my movie. It is a hard thing because you want to promote them. You want to have attention. You want to be interviewed and be liked. But at the same time you want to balance out, step back, and have the movie. I just want the film to survive." - Anderson quoted in IFP/West, December 1999|
|"Most people don't share my moral sense, which is, I'll masturbate, but I have to clean it up very quickly afterwards." - Anderson to The New York Times magazine, Dec. 12, 1999|
|"Directing a movie doesn't mean anything. It's only 50 percent of the job. The other 50 percent is this gene of protectiveness and parenting and evil that safeguards your movie. It's not a gene I love having, but I have to use it." - Anderson quoted in The New York Times magazine, Dec. 19, 1999|
|"You get criticized for being self-indulgent, but if I weren't self-indulgent, they'd be p*ssed off, because I'd be making something very slight. Aren't I supposed to try and indulge who I am, to try to put that on the screen? They're mad if you don't put enough heart in your movie, and they're REALLY mad if you put too much heart in it." - Anderson to USA Today, Jan. 7, 2000|
|"What I've come to realize is that if the script is good, the actors will just show up. I think I'm an OK director, but I think I'm a good writer. My job as a director is just to write really well, because that makes it all so much easier. They get it when they read it, so you don't have to talk about it too much." - Anderson to The Dallas Morning News, Jan. 9, 2000|
Teaser preview of "Alien vs. Predator ." A billionaire finances an expedition to the Antarctic to uncover a buried pyramid but discovers the frozen continent is a battle field for two alien races--and now they are caught in the middle. No matter who wins, we lose. Directed by Paul Anderson, Alien vs. Predator stars
From classic movie palaces to the state-of-the-art IMAX screens.