Joel Schumacher

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Joel Schumacher
Joel Schumacher.jpg
Schumacher in Taormina during the Taormina Film Fest in 2003, for the Italian premiere of Phone Booth.
Born Joel T. Schumacher
(1939-08-29) August 29, 1939 (age 74)
New York City, New York, U.S.
Nationality American
Education Parsons The New School for Design
Alma mater University of California, Los Angeles
Occupation Director, screenwriter, producer
Years active 1972–present
Notable work(s) The Lost Boys, Falling Down, Batman Forever, Batman & Robin, A Time to Kill, 8mm, Tigerland, Phone Booth

Joel T. Schumacher (born August 29, 1939) is an American film director, screenwriter, and producer.

Some notable films he has directed include St. Elmo's Fire, The Lost Boys, Cousins, Falling Down, The Client, Batman Forever, A Time to Kill, Batman & Robin, Flawless, Phone Booth, Veronica Guerin and The Number 23. Before he launched his career as a director, Schumacher also wrote the screenplay adaptation of The Wiz.

Early life[edit]

Schumacher was born in New York City, the son of Marian (née Kantor) and Francis Schumacher.[1] His mother was a Swedish Jew, and his father was a Baptist from Knoxville, Tennessee, who died when Joel was four years old.[2] Schumacher studied at Parsons The New School for Design and The Fashion Institute of Technology in New York.[3] After first working in the fashion industry, he realized his true love was in filmmaking. He moved out to Los Angeles, where he began his media work as a costume designer in films such as Sleeper and developed his skills with television work while earning an MFA from UCLA.

Schumacher's first screenplay was for the musical drama Sparkle in 1976, which Schumacher had developed with Howard Rosenman before moving to Los Angeles. He also wrote the screenplays for the 1976 low-budget hit movie Car Wash,1978's The Wiz an adaptation of the stage play of the same name and a number of other minor successes. His film directorial debut was The Incredible Shrinking Woman in 1981, which starred Lily Tomlin, and he quickly made more successful films, including two "brat pack" works. In addition, he worked with Julia Roberts on two medical films, Flatliners and Dying Young and directed Michael Douglas and Robert Duvall in the drama Falling Down.


The Brat Pack[edit]

St. Elmo's Fire and The Lost Boys, considered to be archetypal movies of the 1980s, were two of Schumacher's biggest hits. Their style impressed audiences and their financial success allowed studios to trust him with ever larger projects. He states in the director's commentary for St. Elmo's Fire that he resents the "Brat Pack" label, as he feels it misrepresents the group.

John Grisham[edit]

Schumacher has directed two adaptations of John Grisham novels: The Client (1994) and A Time to Kill (1996). Grisham personally requested that Schumacher return to direct A Time to Kill.[citation needed]


Schumacher later replaced Tim Burton as the director of the Batman film franchise due to the reaction by parental groups to Batman Returns (1992). He directed Batman Forever (1995), replacing Michael Keaton with Val Kilmer; the film scored the highest-grossing opening weekend of 1995, and finished as the second highest-grossing film of the year.

Inspired by this success, Warner Bros. hired Schumacher to direct a sequel, Batman & Robin, in 1997. But after scathing reviews and a drop in ticket sales from the first film, Warner Bros. put the series of movies on hiatus, canceling Schumacher's next planned Batman movie, Batman Triumphant. On the DVD commentary, Schumacher has admitted that his movie disappointed fans of darker Batman adaptations, saying that the film was made intentionally marketable (or "toyetic") and kid-friendly. He claims to have been under heavy pressure from the studio to do so; however, he admits full responsibility and, at one point, apologizes to any fans who were disappointed. Schumacher, however, is a devoted Batman fan himself and actually would have personally preferred an adaptation of the comic Batman: Year One.[4]

Schumacher also served as the director for the music videos of two songs appearing in the franchise: "Kiss from a Rose", by Seal, and "The End Is the Beginning Is the End", by The Smashing Pumpkins (co-directed with Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris).

Post-Batman career[edit]

After back-to-back Grisham and Batman films, Schumacher decided to reinvent his career with darker, lower-budget fare like 8MM with Nicolas Cage, and Flawless with Robert De Niro. 8MM was entered into the 49th Berlin International Film Festival.[5]

In 1999, Schumacher also directed the music video for "Letting the Cables Sleep" by English rock band Bush. In 2000, Schumacher directed the Vietnam-era boot camp drama Tigerland, which introduced Hollywood to a young Colin Farrell. Kirk Honeycutt of The Hollywood Reporter praised the film as such: "Tigerland lands squarely in the top tier of best movies about America's Vietnam experience."

Schumacher returned to big-budget Hollywood with Bad Company starring Anthony Hopkins and Chris Rock. The film was originally slated to be released in November 2001 but because of the September 11 attacks, it was pushed back to the summer of 2002 because of its theme about terrorist attacks in New York City. The film was panned by most critics and was a box office failure. In 2003, he released the controversial Phone Booth, which reteamed Schumacher with Farrell. The film was also delayed months not only due to 9/11, but later, the Beltway sniper attacks. It received generally positive reviews, earning a 71 percent "Fresh" rating on the review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes.[6] Buoyed by Farrell's recently found fame, the film would earn $98.7 million worldwide.

In 2002, he directed Cate Blanchett in the Jerry Bruckheimer-produced biopic Veronica Guerin. It is about the eponymous Irish journalist, who was murdered by drug dealers in 1996.

Schumacher directed a film version of the musical The Phantom of the Opera in 2004, an adaptation of Andrew Lloyd Webber's original stage musical. Despite mixed reviews, the film earned $154.6 million worldwide (Schumacher's biggest hit of the 21st Century to date) and was nominated for three Academy Awards, as well as three Golden Globes including Best Motion Picture-Musical or Comedy.

The director has since filmed The Number 23, which was a critical flop but a financial success.

His next project was the vampire thriller Blood Creek, which filmed in the spring of 2007 in rural Romania. It took a limited release.

In August 2008, Schumacher directed the music video for American rock band Scars on Broadway, for their upcoming single "World Long Gone".[7]

October 2011 saw a limited release for Schumacher's latest, Trespass. The action-thriller reunited Schumacher with stars Nicole Kidman and Nicolas Cage.[8]

He was slated to next direct the film The Hive, but left the project for an undisclosed reason, replaced by Brad Anderson.[9]

Joel Schumacher is friends with David Fincher, and directed two episodes of the first season of House of Cards, which Fincher produced.

Personal life[edit]

Schumacher has been openly gay throughout most of his career.[10]

Recurring collaborators[edit]

Schumacher often casts the same actors in different films. Kiefer Sutherland, Colin Farrell, Shea Whigham are among his more frequent acting collaborators.

Harry Gregson-Williams often composes the music for his films and Mark Stevens often serves as editor.

Actors and actresses[edit]

Actor The Incredible Shrinking Woman
D.C. Cab
The Lost Boys
Dying Young
Falling Down
The Client
Batman Forever
A Time to Kill
Batman & Robin
Bad Company
Phone Booth
Veronica Guerin
The Phantom of the Opera
The Number 23
Blood Creek
Karina Arroyave NoN NoN
Arian Ash NoN NoN
Chris Bauer NoN NoN
Patricia Belcher NoN NoN
Nicolas Cage NoN NoN
Jim Carrey NoN NoN
Michael Paul Chan NoN NoN NoN
Lynn Collins NoN NoN
John Diehl NoN NoN NoN NoN
John Enos III NoN NoN
Colin Farrell NoN NoN NoN
Maile Flanagan NoN NoN
Brenda Fricker NoN NoN
John Glover NoN NoN
Beth Grant NoN NoN
Anthony Heald NoN NoN NoN
Ciarán Hinds NoN NoN
Doug Hutchison NoN NoN
Chris Huvane NoN NoN
Tommy Lee Jones NoN NoN
Nicky Katt NoN NoN
Nicole Kidman NoN NoN
Tory Kittles NoN NoN
James MacDonald NoN NoN
Jim McMullan NoN NoN
Gerard McSorley NoN NoN
Emily Meade NoN NoN
Amy Morton NoN NoN
Benjamin Mouton NoN NoN NoN
Oliver Platt NoN NoN
Julia Roberts NoN NoN
Luis Saguar NoN NoN
Kimberly Scott NoN NoN NoN NoN NoN
Peter Stormare NoN NoN
Kiefer Sutherland NoN NoN NoN NoN NoN
Nico Tortorella NoN NoN
Shea Whigham NoN NoN NoN
Bob Zmuda NoN NoN




  1. ^ Joel Schumacher Biography (1939-)
  2. ^ Weinraub, Bernard (March 3, 1993). "With 'Falling Down,' Director Savors A New Success". The New York Times. Retrieved May 6, 2010. 
  3. ^ Joel Schumacher Biography at Yahoo! Movies
  4. ^ "Long ago, when this whole thing started, Batman: Year One... was always my favorite, and I was always hoping that I would do that one. There was no desire to do that the first time around, and there was definitely no desire to do that the second time around." – Joel Schumacher, Shadows of the Bat Part 5: Reinventing a Hero, Batman Forever Special Edition DVD
  5. ^ "Berlinale: 1999 Programme". Retrieved 2012-01-28. 
  6. ^ Phone Booth Movie Reviews, Pictures – Rotten Tomatoes
  7. ^ SCARS ON BROADWAY Taps JOEL SCHUMACHER For 'World Long Gone' Video Shoot - Aug. 19, 2008
  8. ^ Nicole Kidman and Nicolas Cage to co-star for first time in Trespass The Guardian. June 16, 2010
  9. ^ Fischer, Russ. "‘The Machinist’ Director Brad Anderson Taking Over ‘The Hive’ From Joel Schumacher". /Film. 
  10. ^ "Gay directors bring home the bacon". The Advocate. May 13, 2003. Archived from the original on November 21, 2007. Retrieved July 8, 2007. 

External links[edit]

Batman film
Preceded by
Tim Burton
Succeeded by
Christopher Nolan