D. J. Caruso

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D.J. Caruso
Daniel John Caruso Jr.[1]

(1965-01-17) January 17, 1965 (age 59)
Occupation(s)Director, producer
Years active1988–present
Holly Kuespert
(m. 1990)

Daniel John Caruso Jr. (/kəˈrs/; born January 17, 1965) is an American film director, producer, and screenwriter. His work encompasses a variety of genres, including thriller (Disturbia, Taking Lives), drama (Standing Up), horror (The Disappointments Room), and action (I Am Number Four, XXX: Return of Xander Cage). He has also directed numerous episodes of television series such as The Shield, Over There, Smallville, and Dark Angel. The majority of his films fall into the thriller and action film genres.

Early life and education[edit]

Caruso was born in Norwalk, Connecticut, the son of Lorraine (Zullo) and Daniel John Caruso, who owned a salon, House of Beauty.[2] He is of Italian descent.[3] He graduated from Norwalk High School in 1983. He is a graduate of Pepperdine University in Malibu, California.[4][5]


Caruso began his career as a protege of director John Badham, acting as producer and second unit director on films like Point of No Return, Drop Zone, and Nick of Time. He directed multiple episodes of television series like High Incident and Beyond Belief: Fact or Fiction, in addition to two made-for-television films.

His feature film directorial debut was The Salton Sea, a stylish 2002 crime thriller starring Val Kilmer and Vincent D'Onofrio that has since gained minor cult status. Caruso next directed the Angelina Jolie and Ethan Hawke-starring psychological thriller film Taking Lives. The film was released in theaters on March 19, 2004, but did not meet box office expectations, grossing $65,470,529 from a $35 million budget. However, the film proved to be a success on home video, holding its place as the number one best-selling DVD for three straight weeks. Two for the Money was Caruso's next film which was considered "a well done sport thriller, but with too many details".[citation needed] The film was released on October 7, 2005, and was a moderate success, grossing $30,526,509 worldwide with a modest budget of $18 million. It was later released on DVD on January 17, 2006.

In 2007, Caruso was asked by Steven Spielberg to direct Disturbia. The movie was Caruso's first big hit, grossing over $117 million on a $20 million budget. It starred Shia LaBeouf, Sarah Roemer, David Morse, Aaron Yoo, and Carrie-Anne Moss. It was released April 13, 2007 in theaters and on DVD August 7.[6] Eagle Eye was Caruso's second collaboration with producer Spielberg and actor LaBeouf. It also starred Michelle Monaghan, Billy Bob Thornton, Rosario Dawson and was released in theaters September 26, 2008. Critical reactions were mixed to negative but, on its opening weekend the movie grossed $29.1 million in 3,510 theaters in the United States and Canada. As of 2017, it has grossed $201 million worldwide with a movie budget of $80 million.

He directed the YA novel adaptation I Am Number Four in 2011, which film grossed $161 million worldwide, but failed to build enough interest for an intended sequel. Two years later, he fulfilled a long-time passion project with the coming-of-age film Standing Up, the director's first family film. It is based on Brock Cole's novel, The Goats. The film stars Chandler Canterbury and Annalise Basso as two geeky children who embark on a journey of discovery and self-discovery after they are stripped naked and left stranded together on an island as part of a summer camp prank. Caruso began adapting the novel in the early nineties with then-partner Ken Aguado, who produced the film. Standing Up was produced for a small budget of $3 million and was released on August 16, 2013.

In August 2013, Caruso planned to direct the film adaptation of the comic Preacher.[7][8] Caruso was also working on a film titled Selling Time, a supernatural thriller potentially starring Will Smith, about a man who is given the unique opportunity to relive the worst day of his life, in exchange for seven years off his own life expectancy.[9] Both projects have since fallen through, with the former property being adapted into a hit television series aired on AMC.

He was a guest judge on the Fox reality television show On the Lot for the episode of May 28 and 29 in 2007. Caruso directed his first music video in 2007 for the song "Don't Make Me Wait" by This World Fair.[10] In 2009, he directed the music video for Airborne Toxic Event's song "Sometime Around Midnight".

On April 2, 2015, Caruso was hired to direct the third installment in the G.I. Joe film series, with Aaron Berg writing the screenplay.[11][12] October 2015, actor and producer Vin Diesel had Caruso sign on as the director of XXX: Return of Xander Cage.[13] The film was debuted as the number one film in the world and made $347 million worldwide.

Caruso directed the film Redeeming Love based on Francine Rivers' 1991 novel of the same name after "he fell in love with the characters and the story when his wife introduced him to the novel." The film was set for a spring 2021 release,[14] but was rescheduled to early 2022.

Personal life[edit]

Caruso married actress Holly Kuespert on July 6, 1990. They have five children: Brandon, Daniel, Sophia, Charlie and Sally.[15]



Year Title Director Writer Notes
2002 The Salton Sea Yes No
2004 Taking Lives Yes No
2005 Two for the Money Yes No
2007 Disturbia Yes No
2008 Eagle Eye Yes No
2011 I Am Number Four Yes No
Inside Yes Yes Social film
2013 Standing Up Yes Yes
2016 The Disappointments Room Yes Yes
2017 XXX: Return of Xander Cage Yes No
2022 Redeeming Love Yes Yes
Shut In Yes No


Year Title Notes
1991 The Hard Way Associate producer
1993 Point of No Return Associate producer and 2nd unit director
Another Stakeout Co-producer and 2nd unit director
1994 Drop Zone Also 2nd unit director
1995 Nick of Time Executive producer and 2nd unit director
2002 Crazy as Hell


Year Title Notes
1996 VR.5 1 episode
1996-97 High Incident 4 episodes
1997 Beyond Belief: Fact or Fiction 8 episodes
Wrote 1 episode
1998 Mercy Point 1 episode
Buddy Faro 1 episode
1999 Martial Law 1 episode
The Strip 1 episode
2001 Dark Angel 1 episode
Going to California 4 episodes
2002 Robbery Homicide Division 2 episodes
Smallville 1 episode
2002–2006 The Shield 4 episodes
2005 Over There 1 episode

Executive producer


  1. ^ "Caruso, a Norwalk Native, Helms 'Eagle Eye'". Norwalk Citizen News. October 3, 2008.
  2. ^ "NHSAA Wall of Honor Hollywood director was All-State tennis player - Thehour.com: Norwalk". Thehour.com. October 2010. Retrieved November 5, 2015.
  3. ^ Liz Braun (April 12, 2007). "CANOE - JAM! Movies: 'Disturbia' director mixes genres". Jam.canoe.ca. Archived from the original on July 10, 2012. Retrieved September 23, 2010.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: unfit URL (link)
  4. ^ Fay, Francis X. Jr. (October 1, 2010). "NHSAA Wall of Honor Hollywood director was All-State tennis player". The Hour. Archived from the original on July 17, 2011. Retrieved October 3, 2010.
  5. ^ Jason Buchanan (2007). "D.J. Caruso". Movies & TV Dept. The New York Times. Archived from the original on October 23, 2007. Retrieved September 29, 2008.
  6. ^ "00's Retrospect: Star Power Pushes Over 2007". Bloody-disgusting.com. December 29, 2009. Retrieved September 23, 2010.
  7. ^ Empireonline Archived October 26, 2013, at the Wayback Machine
  8. ^ "Yes, D.J. Caruso Still Plans to Make 'Preacher' - /Film". Slashfilm.com. August 19, 2013. Retrieved November 5, 2015.
  9. ^ Kroll, Justin (January 7, 2014). "DJ Caruso to Direct Supernatural 'Selling Time' for Fox". Film. Variety. LA: Variety Media.
  10. ^ "This World Fair". Archived from the original on October 10, 2008. Retrieved September 29, 2008.
  11. ^ Kit, Borys (November 24, 2015). "D. J. Caruso in Talks to Direct 'G. I. Joe 3' (Exclusive)". The Hollywood Reporter.
  12. ^ Kit, Borys (November 24, 2015). "'G. I. Joe 3' Nabs 'Section 6' Writer (Exclusive)". The Hollywood Reporter.
  13. ^ Osborn, Alex (October 10, 2015). "Vin Diesel: XXX 3 Will Be Directed by D.J. Caruso". IGN.com. Retrieved November 23, 2015.
  14. ^ Bryan Welk (April 29, 2020). "DJ Caruso Adapts Romance Novel 'Redeeming Love' With Abigail Cowen, Tom Lewis". The Wrap. Retrieved July 3, 2020.
  15. ^ "Brandon Caruso Bio - Pepperdine University Official Athletic Site". Pepperdinesports.com. Archived from the original on September 24, 2015. Retrieved November 5, 2015.

External links[edit]