Michael Almereyda

Director, Screenwriter, Producer
Though his startlingly original work has remained largely unseen, the Kansas-born writer-director Michael Almereyda has consistently elicited complex, arresting performances from name actors and non-actors alike in a ... Read more »
Born: 04/07/1959 in Kansas, USA

Filmography

Director (20)

Anarchy 2015 (Movie)

(Director)

Cymbeline 2015 (Movie)

(Director)

Experimenter 2015 (Movie)

(Director)

Tonight at Noon 2015 (Movie)

(Director)

Skinningrove 2012 (Movie)

(Director)

The Man Who Came Out Only at Night 2012 (Movie)

(Director)

Paradise 2009 (Movie)

(Director)

New Orleans Mon Amour 2007 (Movie)

(Director)

Deadwood 2005 (Tv Show)

Director

Happy Here and Now 2005 (Movie)

(Director)

William Eggleston in the Real World 2005 (Movie)

(Director)

This So-Called Disaster 2004 (Movie)

(Director)

Hamlet 2000 (Movie)

(Director)

Trance 1997 (Movie)

(Director)

The Rocking Horse Winner 1996 (Movie)

(Director)

At Sundance 1995 (Movie)

co-director (Director)

Nadja 1995 (Movie)

(Director)

Another Girl, Another Planet 1991 (Movie)

(Director)

A Hero of Our Time 1990 (Movie)

(Director)

Twister 1989 (Movie)

(Director)
Writer (14)

Cymbeline 2015 (Movie)

(Screenplay)

Experimenter 2015 (Movie)

(Screenplay)

Tonight at Noon 2015 (Movie)

(Screenplay)

The Man Who Came Out Only at Night 2012 (Movie)

(Screenplay)

New Orleans Mon Amour 2007 (Movie)

(Screenplay)

Happy Here and Now 2005 (Movie)

(Screenplay)

Hamlet 2000 (Movie)

(Screenplay)

Trance 1997 (Movie)

(Screenplay)

The Rocking Horse Winner 1996 (Movie)

(Screenplay)

Nadja 1995 (Movie)

(Screenplay)

Search and Destroy 1995 (Movie)

(Screenplay)

Another Girl, Another Planet 1991 (Movie)

(Screenplay)

Twister 1989 (Movie)

(Screenplay)

Cherry 2000 1988 (Movie)

(Screenplay)
Producer (7)

Experimenter 2015 (Movie)

(Producer)

Skinningrove 2012 (Movie)

(Producer)

The Man Who Came Out Only at Night 2012 (Movie)

(Producer)

Paradise 2009 (Movie)

(Producer)

William Eggleston in the Real World 2005 (Movie)

(Producer)

The Rocking Horse Winner 1996 (Movie)

(Producer)

Another Girl, Another Planet 1991 (Movie)

(Producer)
Camera, Film, & Tape (3)

Paradise 2009 (Movie)

(Cinematographer)

William Eggleston in the Real World 2005 (Movie)

(Cinematographer)

At Sundance 1995 (Movie)

cinematography (Cinematographer)
Actor (2)

William Eggleston in the Real World 2005 (Movie)

(Narrator)

At Sundance 1995 (Movie)

(Narrator)
Sound (1)

At Sundance 1995 (Movie)

(Sound)
Other (1)

Hamlet 2000 (Movie)

Pixelvision footage (Archival Footage)

Biography

Though his startlingly original work has remained largely unseen, the Kansas-born writer-director Michael Almereyda has consistently elicited complex, arresting performances from name actors and non-actors alike in a series of films where narrative has remained secondary to emotional and visual impact. After dropping out of Harvard, he moved to NYC and began writing screenplays, quickly securing an agent and soon after his first Hollywood job rewriting the unproduced "Mandrake the Magician" for Embassy Pictures. Almereyda provided the tongue-in-cheek screenplay for Steve de Jarnette's sci-fi action feature "Cherry 2000" (1988), starring Melanie Griffith as a female mercenary hired to bust into a 21st-century robot warehouse operated by psychos in what used to be the American Southwest. He then escaped the trouble surrounding his yet-to-be filmed first feature as director, "Twister" (1989), to go to Australia and collaborate with director Bruce Beresford on an early draft of what would eventually become "Total Recall" (1990).

EDUCATION

Harvard University

Cambridge , Massachusetts
dropped out

Milestones

2000

Helmed and adapted modern dress version of "Hamlet" set in NYC

1998

Directed and wrote the straight-to-video sci-fi horror feature "Trance"; first color film in nearly ten years

1997

Produced, directed and wrote the 23-minute Pixelvision fable "The Rocking Horse Winner", based on the short story by D.H. Lawrence

1995

Commissioned by director Tim Burton to adapt Nathaniel Hawthorne's "Rappaccini's Daughter"; although it was never produced, Burton seems to have absorbed some of it into his "Sleepy Hollow" (1999)

1995

Wrote screenplay for artist David Salle's feature directorial debut, "Search and Destroy", adapted from the play by Howard Korder

1995

Inspired by Wenders' "Room 666" 1980s documentary of the Cannes Film Festival, co-directed (with "Nadja" producer Amy Hobby) documentary "At Sundance", shot on the fly in Pixelvision at the 1995 Sundance Film Festival; narrated film and also received cred

1994

Continued to use Pixelvision (to represent the vampire's point-of-view) in his eccentric, ironic vampire feature "Nadja", executive produced by David Lynch

1992

First producing credit, the 56-minute "Another Girl, Another Planet"; also wrote screenplay and directed; received a special citation from the National Society of Film Critics for "expanding the possibilities of experimental filmmaking including the use o

1991

Uncredited collaboration with Wim Wenders, the screenplay for "Until the End of the World"

1989

Feature directing debut, "Twister", a tale of family dysfunction set against a raging tornado in the director's native Kansas; writer William S. Burroughs appeared in a cameo

1988

Received first screenplay credit for Steve de Jarnette's sci-fi action feature "Cherry 2000"

1987

Traveled to Australia to work with director Bruce Beresford, polishing a script inspired by a Philip K. Dick short story that would eventually become "Total Recall" (1990), directed by Paul Verhoeven; received no screen credit

1982

First Hollywood job, rewriting for Embassy Pictures the unproduced "Mandrake the Magician", based on the comic strip

Moved to NYC after dropping out of Harvard; began writing screenplays and secured an agent early on with the help of writer Tom Pope, who had worked previously with Wim Wenders

Family moved from Kansas to Orange County, California when he was a teenager

Bonus Trivia

.

"Before I could drive I was carpooling to see Howard Hawks or John Huston talk at community colleges. There were more TV channels in L.A. than in Kansas, pre-cable. Movies were everywhere. So of course I wanted to make them. A simple, common disease."It didn't take much to figure out the difference between a Hitchcock or Welles film and something with less visual energy. All the towering maverick directors were pretty conspicuous then, and they showed up in public. Also, I was lucky to have met [critic] Manny Farber when he came to Orange Coast College with a Fassbinder film under his arm. I was sixteen, and I happened to have just read his book ["Negative Space"]. Manny was my first flesh-and-blood guide to movie culture, and to culture itself as a present tense activity. His influence ... was crucial. He was always pushing the edges of things, searching and reaching ... To have run into him as a kid was really lucky." --Almereyda quoted in Filmmaker, February-April 1999

.

"I think your primary influence is what you grew up in, and for me that's suburban Kansas. I seem to be an implausible Kansan--people never expect that I'm from there--but my basic sense of myself is as a kid in Kansas with a big sky hovering overhead, and I don't think I'll ever quite outgrow that. Of course, it's connected to a sense of space, of behavior, of light and even time. The fact that I talk slowly and my films tend to move slowly has everything to do with growing up in that place, which to me will always be magical, and not merely because it's cross-referenced with 'The Wizerd of Oz'! I have a very physical memory of Kansas, and I'd like to shoot another movie there and get it right." --Almereyda to Filmmaker, February-April 1999.

.

"The screenplay [for "Hamlet"] came together quickly and even easily--a process of channeling and distillation. (Typing Shakespeare straight into your computer is a thrilling act of ventriloquism that I can recommend to any writer.) My main job, anticipating work behind the camera, was to imagine a parallel visual language that might hold a candle to Shakespeare's imagery and ideas.

.

"From what I can tell, global power is as smoothly treacherous and absolute as anything going in a well-oiled feudal kingdom, and the notion of an omnipresent Denmark Corp. provided an easy vehicle for Claudius's smiling villainy ... It's more meaningful to explore how Shakespeare's massive interlocking themes--innocence and corruption, identity and fate, love and death, the division between action and thought--might be heightened, even clarified, when colliding with the spectacle of contemporary media-saturated technology." --to The New York Times, May 9, 2000.

.

"It's a truism that every movie is made three times: in the writing, in the shooting, and in the editing, each process generating new contingencies and surprises. And so, many of our best and worst ideas fell by the wayside--sacrificed for the sake of clarity and momentum and to dodge mistakes, making this latest 'Hamlet' the most condensed straight film adaptation in English. Entire scenes were dropped, Shakespeare's text was further trimmed and torn, and the result is, inevitably, an attempt at 'Hamlet'--not so much a sketch but a collage, a patchwork of intuitions, images and ideas." --Almereyda in The New York Times, May 9, 2000

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