Barry Sonnenfeld

Director, Director of photography, Producer
One of the most commercially successful director-producers of the 1990s, Barry Sonnenfeld experienced precipitous ups and downs in a lengthy career spanning both film and television. After cutting his teeth as a ... Read more »
Born: 03/31/1953 in New York City, New York, USA

Filmography

Camera, Film, & Tape (20)

Miller's Crossing 1990 (Movie)

(Director of Photography)

Miller's Crossing 1990 (Movie)

(Camera Operator)

Misery 1990 (Movie)

(Director of Photography)

When Harry Met Sally... 1989 (Movie)

(Director of Photography)

Big 1988 (Movie)

(Director of Photography)

Raising Arizona 1987 (Movie)

(Director of Photography)

Three O'Clock High 1987 (Movie)

(Director of Photography)

Throw Momma From the Train 1987 (Movie)

(Director of Photography)

Doubletake 1985 - 1986 (TV Show)

Director of Photography

Home of the Brave 1986 (Movie)

projection camera (Camera)

Wisdom 1986 (Movie)

(Photography)

Blood Simple 1985 (Movie)

(Director of Photography)

Compromising Positions 1985 (Movie)

(Director of Photography)

Violated 1983 (Movie)

(Photography)

In Our Water 1981 (Movie)

cinematography (Cinematographer)

Classified Love (TV Show)

Director of Photography

How to Be a Perfect Person in Just Three Days (TV Show)

Director of Photography

Out of Step (TV Show)

Director of Photography

The Almost Royal Family (TV Show)

Director of Photography

Welcome Home, Bobby (TV Show)

Director of Photography
Producer (16)

Are You There, Chelsea? 2012 (Tv Show)

Executive Producer

Space Chimps 2008 (Movie)

(Producer)

Enchanted 2007 (Movie)

(Producer)

Karen Sisco 2003 - 2004 (TV Show)

Producer

Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events 2004 (Movie)

(Executive Producer)

The Ladykillers 2004 (Movie)

(Producer)

Big Trouble 2002 (Movie)

(Producer)

Partners 1997 - 2000 (Tv Show)

Executive Producer

Secret Agent Man 1999 - 2000 (TV Show)

Executive Producer

The Crew 2000 (Movie)

(Producer)

Fantasy Island 1998 - 1999 (TV Show)

Executive Producer

Wild Wild West 1999 (Movie)

(Producer)

Out of Sight 1998 (Movie)

(Executive Producer)

Get Shorty 1995 (Movie)

(Executive Producer)

For Love Or Money 1993 (Movie)

(Co-Producer)
Director (14)

Men in Black 3 2012 (Movie)

(Director)

Notes from the Underbelly 1997 - 2000, 2006 - 2008 (Tv Show)

Director

Pushing Daisies 2007 (Tv Show)

Director

RV 2006 (Movie)

(Director)

Big Trouble 2002 (Movie)

(Director)

Men in Black II 2002 (Movie)

(Director)

The Tick 2001 (Tv Show)

Director

Wild Wild West 1999 (Movie)

(Director)

Maximum Bob 1997 - 1998 (Tv Show)

Director

Men in Black 1997 (Movie)

(Director)

Get Shorty 1995 (Movie)

(Director)

Addams Family Values 1993 (Movie)

(Director)

For Love Or Money 1993 (Movie)

(Director)

The Addams Family 1991 (Movie)

(Director)
Actor (10)

Men in Black 3 2012 (Movie)

Husband Watching Launch (Actor)

The Late Show With David Letterman 2007 - 2010, 2012 (Tv Show)

Guest

RV 2006 (Movie)

Irv (Actor)

Reel Comedy: RV 2005 - 2006 (TV Show)

Actor

Big Trouble 2002 (Movie)

Confused Sports Radio Call in Voice (Actor)

Men in Black II 2002 (Movie)

Neuralyzed Father (Actor)

Understanding 1994 - 2002 (TV Show)

Actor

Get Shorty 1995 (Movie)

Doorman (Actor)

Addams Family Values 1993 (Movie)

Mr Glicker (Actor)
Writer (1)

The How-To Guide for Saving the World (Movie)

(Screenwriter)

Biography

One of the most commercially successful director-producers of the 1990s, Barry Sonnenfeld experienced precipitous ups and downs in a lengthy career spanning both film and television. After cutting his teeth as a cinematographer for the likes of Joel and Ethan Coen on "Blood Simple" (1984) and "Raising Arizona" (1987), as well as Rob Reiner on "When Harry Met Sally" (1989) and "Misery" (1990), Sonnefeld made his directorial debut with the creepy comedy hit "The Addams Family" (1991). More box office success followed in the form of the crime-comedy "Get Shorty" (1995) and the blockbuster hit "Men in Black" (1997). Later efforts such as "Wild, Wild West" (1999) and "RV" (2006) proved disappointing, to say the least, although Sonnenfeld did have luck as a producer on films like Disney's "Enchanted" (2007) and the Emmy Award-winning fantasy series "Pushing Daisies" (ABC, 2007-09). After nearly six years away from the director's chair, he reteamed with Agents J and K (Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones) once again for "Men in Black III" (2012), this time with its eye-popping special effects delivered in 3-D. Boasting a 30-year career populated with smashing triumphs and unmitigated disasters, few understood the Hollywood axiom of "You're only as good as your last picture," better than Sonnenfeld.

Relationships

Amy

Step-Daughter

Sasha

Step-Daughter

Susan Ringo

Wife
Married c. 1989, during the wrap party for "Miller's Crossing" (1990) on a boat in the middle of the Mississippi River played small role in "For Love or Money" (1993) and served as associate producer on "Get Shorty" (1995)

Sonny Sonnenfeld

Father

Kelly Sonnenfeld

Mother
Taught at Sonnenfeld's elementary school ("My mother took me to eat lunch with the teachers every day. I didn't eat with the other children until I was in the sixth grade")

Chloe Sonnenfeld

Daughter
Born c. 1993 directed by her father in "RV"

EDUCATION

New York University

New York , New York 1978
Attended NYU's Institute of Film and Television

High School of Music and Art

New York , New York
Has called his high school experience "the three best years of my life"; played French horn and eventually made it into the all-city orchestra

New York University

New York , New York
Attended NYU's Bronx campus for three years while living at home

Eleanor Roosevelt Junior High School

New York , New York
Sonnefeld has referred to his attendence as "the worst three years of my life; I was beaten up every day"

Hampshire College

Amherst , Massachusetts

Milestones

2012

Returned to directing features with "Men in Black III"; re-teamed with stars Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones; also made cameo in film

2007

Produced (also directed) the ABC series "Pushing Daisies"

2006

Directed Robin Williams in the comedy "RV"

2002

Helmed "Men in Black II," the sequel to the 1997 hit; again made cameo in film

2001

Served as executive producer and occasional director of the Fox midseason replacement series "The Tick"

2000

Co-executive produced "Secret Agent Man" (UPN)

2000

In July, terminated film producing partnership with Barry Josephson; TV deal unaffected

1999

Walked away uninjured when the Gulfstream II jet on which he was the lone passenger crash-landed at Van Nuys, CA airport

1999

Directed the feature version of the 1960s TV series "Wild Wild West," starring Will Smith; made came as an alien

1998

Executive produced the ABC series remake "Fantasy Island"

1998

Executive produced (also directed pilot) "Maximum Bob" (ABC), based on a novel by Leonard

1998

Executive produced Steven Soderbergh's "Out of Sight; scripted by Frank and based on a novel by Elmore Leonard

1997

Helmed the summer blockbuster "Men in Black," starring Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones

1995

Signed two-year deal with Walt Disney Company; formed own eponymous production company

1995

Directed the comedy "Get Shorty"; script by Scott Frank and based on a novel by Elmore Leonard; also played small role as Doorman

1994

Helmed sequel "Addams Family Values"

1993

Feature producing debut (as co-producer), "For Love or Money"; also directed

1991

Directorial debut, "The Addams Family"

1990

Last project to date with the Coens, "Miller's Crossing"

1990

Second time as director of photography for Reiner, "Misery"

1988

First film with director Rob Reiner, "When Harry Met Sally..."

1987

Reteamed with the Coens as cinematographer of "Raising Arizona"

1986

First TV-movie as cinematographer, "Welcome Home, Bobby" (CBS)

1986

Provided "additional projection camera" for Laurie Anderson's experimental concert film "Home of the Brave"

1985

Shot first TV miniseries "Doubletake" (CBS)

1984

First feature as director of photography, Joel Coen's "Blood Simple"; first of a series of collaborations with the Coen brothers; also shot the trailer that enabled the Coens to raise money for the project

1984

First TV credit as director of photography, the "ABC Afterschool Special" titled "Out of Step"

1982

Worked as cinematographer for the documentary "In Our Water," about water pollution in New Jersey (shown on PBS' "Frontline")

Shot corporate films and documentaries

Claims to have served as cinematographer on at least nine pornographic films shot over a 22-day period

Grew up in NYC's Washington Heights

After graduating from Hampshire College, worked in photo lab in New York

Bonus Trivia

.

Sonnenfeld was the cinematographer on a commercial for Nike titled "Dog," which won a 1989 Clio Award.

.

"With the Coens, I used to throw up a lot. I threw up, like, 18 times on 'Blood Simple' from being nervous. Well, the first time was because I was filming Danny Hedaya vomiting after getting kicked in the groin by Fran McDormand. And I'm a sympathetic vomiter. If I see, smell or hear vomiting, I will vomit. So when Danny was vomiting, I was vomiting while operating the camera. On the second take, Joel suggested that the soundman point the microphone at me, because my vomiting sounded better than Hedaya's." – Sonnenfeld quoted in Time Out New York, June 26-July 3, 1997

.

About his relationship with Sony Pictures Entertainment (SPE) president of worldwide marketing Robert Levin: "Bob rings up and says, 'It has all worked out well. I just wanted to let you know that I feel very close to you because my middle name is Barry.' And I said: 'You know, Bob, that's so weird because my penis' name is Bob.' There was this long silence on the end of the phone line. Silence. Silence. Silence. Then Bob said, 'You know what Barry, I have just decided that your penis' name is Bob and not that you're telling me to go f*ck myself.' We've got on fine ever since." – Sonnenfeld quoted in Screen International, Aug. 1, 1997

.

On his brush with death as passenger of a jet that crashed: "We were coming in for a landing, and we came down so late in the runway. It's almost a life-changing thing. You have enough time to scream. They were desperately looking for things to hit so they would slow down. That's when I got really scared. I thought it was strangely calm until I saw the fuel pouring out of the plane and onto the engine."No one was hurt, but I hope that someday the NTSB gives me back my suit jacket and my various pieces of luggage. The weird thing is that I hate to fly, and the quote that I give people is that every time I get off a plane, I view it as a failed suicide attempt. The sad news for Warner and Disney is that I'm not going to take any of these rented jets." – Sonnenfeld to Dan Cox of Daily Variety, Feb. 17, 1999

.

"I love my family," says the 53-year-old director, who also has two older stepdaughters. "But I really like to work. I realized that over the last couple of years of not working how much I missed being in charge. Because when I'm home, I'm not in charge." – from The Los Angeles Times, April 16, 2006

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