MICHAEL MANN Biography - Theater, Opera and Movie personalities


Biography » theater opera and movie personalities » michael mann


Name: Michael Kenneth Mann                                                                 
Born: 5 February 1943 Chicago, Illinois                                                     
Michael Kenneth Mann (born February 5, 1943 in Chicago) is an American film                 
director, screenwriter, and producer. He has been nominated for four Oscars for             
writing, directing and producing during the 72nd and 77th Academy Awards in 1999           
and 2004 respectively.                                                                     
His father, Jack, was a Russian immigrant and World War II veteran and his                 
mother, Esther, a girl from a family native to Chicago. Mann was close to his               
father and his paternal grandfather, Sam Mann. Mann grew up in the Humboldt Park           
neighborhood and immersed himself in the burgeoning Chicago blues-music scene as           
a teenager.                                                                                 
He studied English at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where he was an                 
active member of the Pi Lambda Phi fraternity, and developed interests in                   
history, philosophy and architecture. It was at this time that he first saw                 
Stanley Kubrick's Dr. Strangelove and fell in love with movies. In a recent L.A.           
Weekly interview, he describes the film's impact on him: "It said to my whole               
generation of filmmakers that you could make an individual statement of high               
integrity and have that film be successfully seen by a mass audience all at the             
same time. In other words, you didn’t have to be making Seven Brides for Seven           
Brothers if you wanted to work in the main stream film industry, or be reduced             
to niche filmmaking if you wanted to be serious about cinema. So that’s what             
Kubrick meant, aside from the fact that Strangelove was a revelation."                     
Mann later moved to London in the mid 1960s to go to graduate school in cinema.             
He went on to receive a graduate degree at the London International Film School.           
He spent seven years in the United Kingdom going to film school and then working           
on commercials along with contemporaries Alan Parker, Ridley Scott and Adrian               
Lyne. In 1968, footage he shot of the Paris student revolt for a documentary,               
Insurrection, aired on NBC's First Tuesday news program and he developed his '68           
experiences into the short film "Juanpuri," which won the Jury Prize at Cannes             
in 1970.                                                                                   
Mann returned to United States after divorcing his first wife in 1971. He went             
on to direct a road trip documentary, 17 Days Down the Line. Three years later,             
Hawaii Five-0 veteran Robert Lewin gave Mann a shot and a crash course on                   
television writing and story structure. Mann wrote the first four episodes of               
Starsky and Hutch and the pilot episode for Vega$. Around this time, he worked             
on a show called Police Story with cop-turned-novelist Joseph Wambaugh. Police             
Story concentrated on the detailed realism of a real cop's life and taught Mann             
the essential for first-hand research to bring authenticity to his work.                   
His first feature movie was a made-for-TV special called The Jericho Mile, which           
was released theatrically in Europe. It won the Emmy for best MOW in 1979 and               
the DGA Best Director award. His television work also includes being the                   
executive producer on Miami Vice and Crime Story. Contrary to popular belief, he           
is not the creator of these shows but the executive producer and the showrunner.           
They were produced by his production company. However, his cinematic influence             
is felt throughout each show in terms of casting and style.                                 
Mann is now known primarily as a feature film director and he is considered to             
be one of America's top filmmakers. He has a very distinctive style that is                 
reflected in his works: his trademarks include unusual scores, such as Tangerine           
Dream in Thief or the New Age score to Manhunter. Dante Spinotti is a frequent             
cinematographer of Mann's pictures. Mann has an affinity for stark urban                   
landscapes and a visual style which often places an emphasis on soft blues and             
harsh, sterile whites.                                                                     
Mann's first cinema feature as director was Thief starring James Caan - a                   
commercially overlooked gem that set the blueprint for many of Mann's later                 
works and has a central performance that Caan has said he is most proud of after           
The Godfather.                                                                             
1983's The Keep was in retrospect an uncharacteristic choice, being that it is a           
supernatural thriller set in Nazi occupied Romania. It was a commercial flop and           
provoked almost universal confusion in those who did manage to see it. Though it           
is believed that the 96 minute released cut was significantly shorter than Mann             
had intended.                                                                               
Mann was the first to bring Thomas Harris's character of Hannibal Lecter to the             
screen with his adaptation of novel Red Dragon, as Manhunter, the film was quite           
different from the future, more successful entries to the series and starred               
Brian Cox as a more down-to-earth Hannibal. The story was remade less than 20               
years after it came out by Brett Ratner presumably because Anthony Hopkins                 
reprisal of the role in Ridley Scott's Hannibal had made the character a highly             
lucrative property. In an interview on the Manhunter DVD, star William Petersen             
comments that because Mann is so focused on his creations, it takes several                 
years for Mann to complete a film; Petersen believes that this is why Mann doesn't         
make films very often.                                                                     
He gained wide spread recognition in 1992 for his film adaptation of James                 
Fenimore Cooper's book Last of the Mohicans (1992 film). His biggest critical               
successes in the 1990s began with the release of Heat in 1995 and The Insider in           
1999. The films, both of which featured Al Pacino along with Robert DeNiro in               
Heat and Russell Crowe in The Insider, showcased Mann's cinematic style and                 
adeptness at creating rich, complex storylines as well as directing actors. The             
Insider was nominated for seven Academy Awards as a result, including a                     
nomination for Mann's direction.                                                           
With his next film Ali starring Will Smith in 2001, he started experimenting               
with digital cameras. Smith was nominated for an Academy Award. On Collateral he           
shot all of the exterior scenes digitally (with the Viper Video Stream camera)             
so that he could achieve more depth and detail during the night scenes while               
shooting most of the interiors on film stock. The film helped catapult Jamie               
Foxx to greater fame, and he was nominated for an Academy Award for his                     
In 2004, Mann was nominated for producing Best Picture nominee The Aviator, a               
film he had developed with Leonardo DiCaprio with Mann at the helm, he then                 
decided it was too similar in content to the biopic Ali, decided to direct                 
Collateral and left the director's chair to now-frequent DiCaprio collaborator             
Martin Scorsese                                                                             
Since Collateral Mann has made Miami Vice, the film adaptation of the hit TV               
series of the same name which Mann executive produced. It stars a completely new           
cast with Colin Farrell in Don Johnson's role and Jamie Foxx filling Philip                 
Michael Thomas' shoes.                                                                     
He will act as producer and Peter Berg as director for the upcoming movie                   
Hancock which stars Will Smith hard-drinking superhero who is fallen out of                 
favor with the public begins to have an unlikely relationship with the wife (Charlize       
Theron) of a public professional (Jason Bateman) who is trying help repair his             
Mann will direct The Few, a war/drama based on the true-life story of American             
pilot Billy Fiske, who ignored that his country (the USA) is neutral in the                 
early days of WWII and flew and fought against the Germans. Also he'll direct               
Frankie Machine about an ex mob hit man (Robert De Niro) who is lured back into             
his professional job from living in rural comfort by a son of a Mafia Don.                 
On May 2, 2007, Variety magazine revealed that Mann's next project would be a               
1930s film noir starring Leonardo DiCaprio, however he was unable to find a                 
studio to finance it. On October 10, 2007, Variety reported that Mann would be             
re-teaming with Will Smith on a film entitled, Empire for Columbia Pictures,               
written by John Logan. Smith will "play a contemporary global media mogul."                 
Variety confirmed that Mann's next film will be called Public Enemies for                   
Universal Pictures and is about the Depression-era crime wave, based on Brian               
Burrough's nonfiction book, Public Enemies: America's Greatest Crime Wave and               
the Birth of the FBI, 1933-34. It will star Johnny Depp and Mann has written the           
screenplay and will direct. The actor will play John Dillinger in the film.                 
DiCaprio was originally attached to the project, but he is scheduled to appear             
in Martin Scorsese's Shutter Island. Public Enemies will start filming in                   
Chicago on March 10, 2008. On January 11, 2008, Variety[6] reports that                     
Christian Bale is in talks for the role of Melvin Purvis in Public Enemies.