Though he almost gave up trying to make it in Hollywood after being fired by Disney from his first gig, writer-director James Mangold reemerged from a short hiatus with his acclaimed feature debut, "Heavy" (1995), which brought him industry-wide recognition. Mangold followed up with the critical darling "Cop Land" (1997), which earned him a reputation as a practitioner of hard-hitting and gritty independent films. After helping make Angelina Jolie a star with "Girl, Interrupted" (1999), the director began to slip a little with critics when he helmed the Meg Ryan romantic comedy "Kate & Leopold" (2001). But once again, Mangold surprised his critics with the deft supernatural thriller "Identity" (2003), while receiving a ton of critical kudos for his popular biopic "Walk the Line" (2005), which brought about renewed interest in the music of outlaw country star Johnny Cash. Following the excellent remake of the Western "3:10 to Yuma" (2007), Mangold once again demonstrated that he was comfortable directing any genre he chose.