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Curtis Hanson

For other people named Curtis Hanson, see Curtis Hanson (disambiguation).
Curtis Hanson
File:Curtis Hanson by David Shankbone.jpg
Curtis Hanson, May 2007
Born Curtis Lee Hanson
(1945-03-24) March 24, 1945 (age 75)
Reno, Nevada, U.S.
Occupation Film director, producer and screenwriter
Years active 1970–present

Curtis Lee Hanson (born March 24, 1945) is an American film director, film producer and screenwriter. His directing work includes The Hand That Rocks the Cradle (1992), L.A. Confidential (1997), Wonder Boys (2000), 8 Mile (2002), and In Her Shoes (2005).

Early life

Hanson was born in Reno, Nevada and grew up in Los Angeles, the son of Beverly June (Curtis), a real estate agent, and Wilbur Hale "Bill" Hanson, a teacher.[1][2][3] Hanson dropped out of high school, finding work as a freelance photographer and editor for Cinema magazine.[4]

Film career

In 1970, Hanson co-wrote The Dunwich Horror, an adaptation of H.P. Lovecraft's short story. Hanson wrote and directed his next feature Sweet Kill in 1973, then in 1978 wrote and produced The Silent Partner, starring Elliott Gould and Christopher Plummer. As the 1980s and 1990s began, he directed a string of comedies and dramas. He did thrillers, too: many of them would deal with people who would lose a sense of control or security when facing danger and the threat of death. Some, like the financial executive in Bad Influence and the police officers in L.A. Confidential unexpectedly walk into violence and disaster.

In the 1990s Hanson found box-office success with The Hand That Rocks the Cradle and The River Wild, and significant critical acclaim with L.A. Confidential, an adaptation of the James Ellroy novel. The film was nominated for 9 Academy Awards including Best Picture and Best Director, and won 2, for Best Adapted Screenplay, a credit Hanson shared with Brian Helgeland, and Best Supporting Actress (Kim Basinger). Hanson's later works include In Her Shoes, Wonder Boys, 8 Mile, and Lucky You.

Hanson claims to be heavily influenced by Alfred Hitchcock and Nicholas Ray. He previously stated that Ray's film In a Lonely Place was among many that he watched in preparation for the filming of L.A. Confidential.[5] In 8 Mile, Kim Basinger's character is watching Elia Kazan's Pinky on television, a film about a mixed race girl passing as white - an homage to the themes of racial mixing and boundary crossing that are features of most of Hanson's work.

Hanson's 2011 film was Too Big to Fail, based on the 2009 Andrew Ross Sorkin book of the same name about the early rounds of the financial crisis of 2007–2010. The HBO film featured an all-star cast, including William Hurt as Treasury Secretary and former Goldman Sachs CEO Henry Paulson and Cynthia Nixon as his liaison to the press; James Woods as Richard Fuld of Lehman Brothers; and Paul Giamatti as Ben Bernanke.[6]

Hanson resides in Southern California.



  1. ^ "* Wilbur (Bill) Hanson; Educator". Los Angeles Times. February 16, 1994. 
  2. ^ "Survival Lesson For 'River' Director". The New York Times. October 5, 1994. 
  3. ^ Kappa Delta Sorority (1941). Angelos (v. 37, no. 2). ISSN 1064-5837. Retrieved 2014-10-25. 
  4. ^
  5. ^ A Dark Lesson in Trust
  6. ^ "Too Big To Fail": The story behind HBO's movie", interview with Curtis Hanson, Marketplace (radio program), May 23, 2011.

External links

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