Mark Illsley

Director, Screenwriter, Producer
After a longtime collaboration working as a second unit director alongside Kevin Reynolds, Mark Illsley made his feature debut with the 1999 Sundance Film Festival favorite "Happy, Texas. " While attending film school ... Read more »
Born: 06/04/1958 in Santa Rosa, California, USA

Filmography

Director (5)

Bookies 2002 (Movie)

(Director)

Happy, Texas 1999 (Movie)

(Director)

Rapa Nui 1994 (Movie)

(Director)

Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves 1991 (Movie)

2nd unit director (Director)

The Beast 1988 (Movie)

2nd unit director (Director)
Producer (1)

Happy, Texas 1999 (Movie)

(Producer)
Writer (1)

Happy, Texas 1999 (Movie)

(Screenplay)
Production Management (1)

Quiet Cool 1986 (Movie)

(Assistant Director)

Biography

After a longtime collaboration working as a second unit director alongside Kevin Reynolds, Mark Illsley made his feature debut with the 1999 Sundance Film Festival favorite "Happy, Texas. " While attending film school at USC, Illsley first met up with Reynolds and served as producer of the director's thesis film "Proof," a 22-minute short later expanded into Reynolds' debut feature "Fandango" (1985), notable as an early starring vehicle for Kevin Costner. Illsley's first screen credit came in 1986 as assistant director of Clay Borris' thriller feature "Quiet Cool." He reteamed with Reynolds on "The Beast" (1988), again serving as second unit director of the compelling Soviet/Afghan war film starring Jason Patric. His name appeared onscreen again in 1990 as key production assistant on Alan Rudolph's "Love at Large" before he reteamed with Reynolds in the second unit director capacity on "Robin Hood: Price of Thieves" (1991). In this popular adventure film, Illsley was responsible for the striking shot of an arrow spinning through the air plucked for use in the trailer, television spots and music videos that promoted the film. Less successful was the 17th Century-set Easter Island civil war epic "Rapa Nui" (1994). Directed by Reynolds with Illsley once again heading up the second unit, the film proved a rough shoot, with scenes requiring scaling mountains and hanging off of cliffs to capture the remarkable scenery. Illsley ended his partnership with Reynolds after this feature and prior to the director's doomed "Waterworld" (1996), but found movie work hard to come by, and ended up at one point doing time as a telemarketer for a hair restorative company.

Relationships

Helen Illsley

Mother

Rolf Illsley

Father
born on June 27, 1921 moved his technical glass company to Santa Rosa, California in the 1950s, paving the way for Silicon Valley, the name given to the region's booming high-tech industry

Roger Illsley

Brother
born on July 26, 1955

Linda Illsley

Sister
born on January 19, 1957

Lisa Illsley

Sister
born on February 25, 1954

EDUCATION

School of Cinema and Television, University of Southern California

Los Angeles, California
roomed with future film editor Norman Buckley; met future collaborator Kevin Reynolds

Milestones

1999

Feature directorial debut, "Happy, Texas"; also co-wrote with Ed Stone and Phil Reeves and served as one of the producers; premiered at the Sundance Film Festival

1994

Reteamed with Reynolds as 2nd unit director on "Rapa Nui"

1991

Served as second unit director on "Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves", helmed by Reynolds

1990

Had a key production assistant credit on Alan Rudolph's romantic mystery "Love at Large"

1988

Was second unit director on Reynolds' "The Beast"

1986

Served as assistant director to Clay Borris on the thriller "Quiet Cool"

1985

Assisted Reynolds on "Fandango", a feature based on "Proof"

Raised in Santa Rosa, California

Began making Super-8 movies as a teenager

Signed to direct the comedy feature "Guam Goes to the Moon", described by Illsley as "'The Right Stuff' but the wrong guys"

While at USC, met Kevin Reynolds; served as producer of Reynolds' 22-minute thesis film "Proof"

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