Dwight H. Little

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Dwight H. Little
Born
Dwight Hubbard Little

(1956-01-13) January 13, 1956 (age 66)
NationalityAmerican
Other namesDwight Little
OccupationFilm director
Children3

Dwight Hubbard Little (born January 13, 1956) is an American film and television director, known for directing the films Marked for Death, Rapid Fire, Free Willy 2: The Adventure Home, Murder at 1600 and Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers. He has also directed several episodes of acclaimed television series such as 24, Prison Break, Dollhouse, Bones and Nikita. Little was born in Cleveland, Ohio. He studied film at USC.[1]

Career[edit]

Dwight Little got his first break in the film business when producer Sandy Howard asked him to shoot additional material for Triumphs of a Man Called Horse. Howard needed the film to be longer in order to be able to sell it oversees. When Little was finished, Howard asked him to make him an action film for the video market. Little made KGB: The Secret War for a budget of 300.000 dollars. From that film, Little edited a show-reel that got him the attention of several members of the Hunt-Hill family from Texas who asked him to make an action movie. This became Getting Even. According to Little, the film was devised around everything the family members owned: helicopters, a ranch, a Learjet. Little was then asked by Nico Mastorakis to direct the action adventure film Bloodstone in India.[1]

Little's first chance at directing a union film was Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers. Little rejected the treatment that was written by John Carpenter and Debra Hill and pitched producer Moustapha Akkad the idea for what became Halloween 4. On the basis of Halloween 4, Steven Seagal asked Little to direct his next film, which was Hard to Kill. But the studio (Warner) vetoed Seagal's choice of director and went for Bruce Malmuth instead. Little went on to make The Phantom of the Opera for producer Menahem Golan. Little got offered Halloween 5: The Revenge of Michael Myers, but declined. He worried he would be trapped in the horror genre. Little got a chance to do another action film when Steven Seagal asked Little to direct Marked for Death. The film became a modest hit and Little got a chance to make Rapid Fire for the same studio (Fox), which was an attempt to launch the career of Brandon Lee as an in-house action star for Fox.[1]

While reading an article on how the Navy had a term for when they lose a nuclear missile, Little got the idea for Broken Arrow. He pitched it at Fox. The studio asked writer Graham Yost to develop the script with Little, with Little being attached to direct. But when the script was finished early and Fox wanted to head into production, Little was still editing Free Willy 2: The Adventure Home. He decided to finish Free Willy 2 at Warner. Fox asked John Woo to direct Broken Arrow, while giving Little an executive producer's credit. Little says Woo's film bares little resemblance to what he envisioned. "I wanted to do a Tom Clancy type thriller (...). John Woo made it much lighter. John Travolta played it over the top. The movie was tongue-in-cheek and campy. But you can’t blame him, because it made a lot of money."[1]

Because Warner was pleased with how Free Willy 2 turned out, Little got the chance to direct Murder at 1600, a conspiracy thriller starring Wesley Snipes and Diane Lane. The studio had promised Little that Murder at 1600 would open in January 1997, while Clint Eastwood's Absolute Power would open in April of the same year. A test screening was held of Murder at 1600 in December 1996. The response was positive. According to Little, somebody for Eastwood's production company Malpaso heard about the excellent test screening of Murder at 1600 and told Eastwood about it. Little: "I’m not sure Clint was even aware of our movie, but he (...) went to Bob Daly and Terry Semel, who were the chiefs at Warner Brothers, and demanded that Absolute Power be released first. He’s a smart guy. He doesn’t want to be second with another White House thriller. So we get a call that our movie was pushed back to April. It was so disappointing. Every review said: Just like last month’s Absolute Power… We looked like the copycat."[1]

After directing mostly television for almost twenty years, Little returned to feature film making with the true crime drama Last Rampage, based on the non-fiction book Last Rampage: The Escape of Gary Tison by University of Arizona Political Science Professor James W. Clarke. The film deals with events that happened in 1978, when convicted murderer Gary Tison, played by Robert Patrick, escaped from prison with the help of his three sons. Heather Graham stars as his wife and Bruce Davison as the lawman who heads the manhunt. Little got the book from his stepson, actor Jason James Richter. Last Rampage was reviewed favorably by Variety, who praised "the no-frills efficiency" and "the brisk and suspenseful narrative".[2] Rex Reed of The Observer called the film "grim and hopelessly despondent, but superbly acted and strangely effective."[3] Little himself called it "the most honest" of his films.[1]

Filmography[edit]

Year Title Director Executive
Producer
Writer Notes
1985 KGB: The Secret War Yes No Story
1986 Getting Even Yes No Story
1988 Bloodstone Yes No No
Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers Yes No No [4]
1989 The Phantom of the Opera Yes No No [5][6]
1990 Marked for Death Yes No No
1992 Rapid Fire Yes No No
1995 Free Willy 2: The Adventure Home Yes No No
1996 Broken Arrow No Yes No Directed by John Woo
1997 Murder at 1600 Yes No No
2001 Deep Blue Yes No No
2004 Anacondas: The Hunt for the Blood Orchid Yes No No
2010 Tekken Yes No No
2017 Last Rampage Yes Yes No

Television[edit]

TV movies

TV series

Year Title
1989 Freddy's Nightmares
1997 Millennium
1998 The Practice
1999 Strange World
2001 Wolf Lake
Citizen Baines
2002 The X-Files
John Doe
2003 Veritas: The Quest
2005 Law & Order: Trial by Jury
The Inside
Just Legal
Prison Break
2006 24
Vanished
Day Break
Bones
2009 Castle
Dollhouse
2010 Tower Prep
2011 Body of Proof
Criminal Minds: Suspect Behavior
Nikita
Drop Dead Diva
2012 The Finder
2014 Matador
Scorpion
Sleepy Hollow
From Dusk Till Dawn: The Series
2015 Arrow
Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.
2017 Daytime Divas

Video games director[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f "Dwight Little interview". THE FLASHBACK FILES. Retrieved 2021-05-23.
  2. ^ Leydon, Joe (2017-09-22). "Film Review: 'Last Rampage: The Escape of Gary Tison'". Variety. Retrieved 2021-05-23.
  3. ^ "Grim 'Last Rampage' Saved by Superb Acting". Observer. 2017-09-26. Retrieved 2021-05-23.
  4. ^ Muir, John Kenneth (2007). Horror Films of the 1980s. Daniel Chung. p. 654. ISBN 978-0786455010.
  5. ^ "Schoelen, Jill (Final Girls)". Dread Central. Retrieved 30 May 2013.
  6. ^ Kehr, Dave (Nov 7, 1989). "'Phantom' Appeal Is Wearing Thin". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 30 May 2013.

External links[edit]