Gavin Hood

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Gavin Hood
Gavin Hood 2015.jpg
Hood at the 2015 Toronto International Film Festival
Born (1963-05-12) 12 May 1963 (age 59)
Johannesburg, South Africa
EducationSt Stithians College
Years active1989–present
SpouseNerissa Black

Gavin Hood (born 12 May 1963) is a South African filmmaker, and actor, best known for writing and directing Tsotsi (2005), which won the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film. He also directed the films X-Men Origins: Wolverine, Ender's Game, Eye in the Sky and most recently, Official Secrets.

Early life[edit]

Hood was born in Johannesburg and grew up in the Hillbrow area. He is the son of the English-born South African retailer Gordon Hood (d. 2013). Hood attended St Stithians College and went on to graduate with a law degree from the University of the Witwatersrand.[1] He then pursued a post-graduate degree in screenwriting and directing at a film school in California in 1991.[2]

Directing career[edit]

Upon returning to his home country, Hood got his start in directing when he was commissioned to make several short educational dramas for the South African Department of Health. His first commercial short film was The Storekeeper (1998). He earned an Artes Award for his contributions.[2]

Hood co-produced and wrote the script for his debut feature film, A Reasonable Man (1999), which portrays the accidental killing of a young child mistaken for a tokoloshe. He then directed the Polish language 2001 feature film In Desert and Wilderness (W pustyni i w puszczy) when its original director fell ill. This was then followed by the critically acclaimed crime drama film Tsotsi (2005). Tsotsi went on to win the 2005 Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film, granting him his first Academy Award, and was nominated for the Golden Globe for Best Foreign Language Film in 2006.[3][4] Hood was also nominated for the 2005 Non-European Film—Prix Screen International at the European Film Awards for his work on the film.

In 2000, Variety magazine named him as one of its "Ten Directors to Watch".[5]

He directed Rendition (2007), his first Hollywood feature, for New Line Cinema. He also directed the film X-Men Origins: Wolverine, based on the Marvel Comics character of the same name, with Hugh Jackman reprising his role from the X-Men films.[6]

Prior to the film's release, Gavin talked about the political undertones of the new Wolverine movie:

Any movie that is simply about good versus evil ... is in my view putting out into the world and certainly into a mass audience and young audience's mind a rather dangerous philosophy, which is that there is good and evil in the simplistic and easily defined way


I think that for the last eight years, we've had that philosophy very much prevalent in the Bush administration that if you're on the side of good, at least as you perceive it, then you can do no evil ... That's what's so great about this character or about this movie for me and why I wanted to do it ... This is a guy who recognizes his own capacity for evil and I think that's exciting in a sort of popular culture kind of way. After all, the most famous line from Wolverine, the comics, is "I am the best there is at what I do, but what I do best isn't very nice."[7]

In 2011, Hood began work at the helm of novelist Orson Scott Card's Ender's Game. He wrote a draft of Card's screenplay and directed the film.[8][9] Ender's Game was released in U.S. theaters on 1 November 2013.

Hood directed and acted in Eye in the Sky, which was released on 15 September 2015 at the TIFF in Toronto, Canada.

Hood wrote, directed, and executive produced the 2019 British film Official Secrets based on the real life case of the Iraq War whistleblower Katharine Gun.[10][11]

Personal life[edit]

Over the course of his career, Hood has "bounced about, back and forth" between South Africa, the United States, and the United Kingdom.[12]


Year Film
Director Writer Producer Notes
1998 The Storekeeper Yes Yes Yes Short film
1999 A Reasonable Man Yes Yes Yes Directorial Debut
2001 In Desert and Wilderness Yes Yes No
2005 Tsotsi Yes Yes No Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film
Nominated- BAFTA Award for Best Film Not in the English Language
Nominated- Golden Globe Award for Best Foreign Language Film
2007 Rendition Yes No No
2009 X-Men Origins: Wolverine Yes No No
2013 Ender's Game Yes Yes No
2015 Eye in the Sky Yes No No
2019 Official Secrets Yes Yes Executive

Acting roles[edit]

Year Title
Role Note
1991 The Sheltering Desert Willi
American Kickboxer Ken Holligan
Curse III: Blood Sacrifice Robert
1993 The Game TV series
13 episodes
1994 Project Shadowchaser II Tieg
1995 Kickboxer 5 German Champion Direct-to-video
Human Timebomb Mike
1996 Rhodes Frank Johnson 4 episodes
1997 Operation Delta Force 2: Mayday Sparks Direct-to-video
1998 Beings US Doctor
Operation Delta Force 3: Clear Target Sparks
1999 A Reasonable Man Sean Raine
Traitor's Heart John Roberts
2004 In Enemy Hands Achilles Captain
Stargate SG-1 Colonel Alexi Vaselov 1 episode
King Solomon's Mines Bruce McNabb TV mini-series
2 episodes
2013 Ender's Game Giant Voice and motion-capture performance cameo
2015 Eye in the Sky Lieutenant Colonel Ed Walsh


  1. ^ "Universal Viewer – St Stithians Archives".
  2. ^ a b "Gavin Hood: from Tsotsi to X-Men". Brand South Africa. 16 April 2009.
  3. ^ Walsh, Fiona. "SA EXCLUSIVE: Gavin Hood on his new film and how his mom getting hijacked set in motion his Oscar-winning career". Channel. Retrieved 10 June 2022.
  4. ^ "Gavin Hood". Retrieved 10 June 2022.
  5. ^ Higgins, Bill (31 January 2000). "'Dance till wee hours". Variety.
  6. ^ Gilstrap, Peter; Fleming, Michael (19 July 2007). "Fox says Hood good for 'Wolverine'". Variety.
  7. ^ "Gavin Hood: Wolverine". 28 April 2009. Retrieved 28 April 2009.
  8. ^ Zeitchik, Steven (20 September 2010). "Gavin Hood: Enders Game". Los Angeles Times.
  9. ^ Gallagher, Brian (28 April 2011). "Ender's Game Lands at Summit Entertainment".
  10. ^ Smith, Tymon (15 December 2019). "Director Gavin Hood on why he's drawn to telling stories about moral dilemmas". TimesLIVE. South Africa. Retrieved 26 November 2021.
  11. ^ "Standing ovation for Oscar-winning SA director Gavin Hood at the Sundance Film Festival". Channel. Retrieved 10 June 2022.
  12. ^ Walsh, Fiona (19 February 2019). "SA EXCLUSIVE: Gavin Hood on his new film and how his mom getting hijacked set in motion his Oscar-winning career". Channel24. Retrieved 26 November 2021.

External links[edit]