A former high school dropout who became a photographer and editor at Cinema magazine, writer-director Curtis Hanson honed his filmmaking skills by writing screenplays for low-budget horror flicks before directing eventually Oscar-caliber films. As with seemingly everyone of his age who wielded a camera, Hanson had his start penning "The Dunwich Horror" (1970) for the definitive mentor, Roger Corman, before directing "Sweet Kill" (1973) for the low-brow producer. In the 1980s, he graduated to compelling, Hitchcockian thrillers like "The Bedroom Window" (1987) and "Bad Influence" (1990), which paved the way for his true breakthrough film, "The Hand That Rocks the Cradle" (1992), a tense psychological thriller that became his first bona fide box office hit. Following a quality action adventure movie, "The River Wild" (1994), Hanson reached true artistic heights with his lush adaptation of James Ellroy's "L.A. Confidential" (1997), widely considered to be the best crime noir since "Chinatown" (1974). From there, he made a quirky, uneven, but ultimately endearing adaptation of Michael Chabon's "Wonder Boys" (2000), before drawing a convincing performance from rap star Eminem in "8 Mile" (2002). Though he stumbled with his next two projects, "In Her Shoes" (2005) and "Lucky You" (2007), Hanson was able to keep critics guessing while maintaining his status as one of Hollywood's most diverse directors.