Joseph Kosinski

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Joseph Kosinski
Joe Kosinski by Gage Skidmore.jpg
Kosinski at the 2010 San Diego Comic-Con
Born (1974-05-03) May 3, 1974 (age 48)
Years active1999–present
Spouse(s)Kristin Kosinski

Joseph Kosinski is an American filmmaker best known for his computer graphics and computer-generated imagery (CGI) work, and for his work in action films. He made his big-screen directorial debut with the 2010 science fiction film Tron: Legacy, the sequel to the 1982 film Tron. He also directed the 2013 science fiction film Oblivion and the 2022 action drama film Top Gun: Maverick, the sequel to the 1986 film Top Gun. His previous work has primarily been with CGI-related television commercials including the "Starry Night" commercial for Halo 3[1] and the award-winning "Mad World" commercial for Gears of War.[2]

Life and career[edit]

Kosinski was born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin[3] and raised in Marshalltown, Iowa, the son of Patricia (née Provost) of French-Canadian descent, and Joel Kosinski, a doctor of Polish descent.[4][5][6]

His first major film was the special effects-heavy Tron: Legacy.[7][8] The film was in Disney Digital 3-D and IMAX 3D, with a release of December 2010.[9]

After moving to Los Angeles in 2005, he began writing a film treatment which would eventually develop into an unpublished graphic novel by the title Oblivion for Radical Comics.[10] In August 2010, Walt Disney Pictures acquired the rights to the work.[11] William Monahan worked on the screenplay for a film adaptation.[7] In March 2011, it was reported that Karl Gajdusek would rewrite the screenplay.[12] Attempts to keep the film with a PG rating were unsuccessful, leading to Disney giving up the rights which were acquired by Universal Pictures. Universal Pictures agreed to a PG-13 rating. The $120-million-budgeted Oblivion began filming in March 2012, with Tom Cruise in the lead role, and was released in April 2013.[13]

Kosinski was confirmed to direct the third Tron film in early 2015, but in May of the same year it was announced that Disney had canceled the project.[14][15] In 2017, he directed Only the Brave, originally titled Granite Mountain, based on the true story of the Granite Mountain Hotshots (wildland firefighters). In June 2017 it was announced he was set to direct the sequel to Top Gun, titled Top Gun: Maverick.[16]

Kosinski is also set to direct an untitled Formula One racing film, reteaming with Top Gun: Maverick producer Jerry Bruckheimer and screenwriter Ehren Kruger, with racing driver Lewis Hamilton also serving as producer. The project, acquired by Apple Studios in June 2022, will star Brad Pitt and receive an exclusive theatrical run "of at least 30 days" before streaming on Apple TV+.[17]

Kosinski has been attached to several as-of-now-unmade projects, including remakes of '70s science-fiction films Logan's Run,[18] The Black Hole,[19] the science-fiction film Archangels,[20] an untitled action-thriller from Halt and Catch Fire writers Christopher Cantwell and Christopher C. Rogers,[21] The Twilight Zone, [22] and an adaptation of the video game series, Gran Turismo.[23]


Kosinski is an alumnus of Columbia Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation (GSAPP), and currently an adjunct assistant professor of architecture[24] where he helps students in 3D modeling and graphics.[25] In 2008, he spoke in detail about his education in architecture, pushing the technological envelope in commercials and his eventual progression to feature films.[26]



Short film

Year Title Director Writer Notes
2008 TR2N Yes No Teaser for Tron Legacy
2017 The Dig Yes Yes Made to demonstrate Sony's CineAlta Venice camera

Feature film

Year Title Director Producer Notes
2010 Tron: Legacy Yes No
2013 Oblivion Yes Yes Based on his original graphic novel
2017 Only the Brave Yes No
2022 Top Gun: Maverick Yes No
Spiderhead Yes No

Frequent collaborators[edit]

Actor Tron: Legacy (2010) Oblivion (2013) The Dig (2017) Only the Brave (2017) Top Gun: Maverick (2022) Spiderhead (2022)
Jeff Bridges Yes Yes
Tom Cruise Yes Yes
Taylor Kitsch Yes Yes
Jennifer Connelly Yes Yes
Jake Picking Yes Yes
Miles Teller Yes Yes Yes
Charles Parnell Yes Yes


  1. ^ Official website Archived 2009-02-28 at the Wayback Machine work portfolio.
  2. ^ 2007 AICP Show Best Visual Effects.
  3. ^ Director Joseph Kosinski on Tron: Legacy and the Limitations of CGI-Created Actors
  4. ^ Barnes, Brooks (December 3, 2010). "Cyberspace Gamble". The New York Times. p. AR1. Retrieved December 6, 2010. Raised in Marshalltown, Iowa — population 26,000 — he [Kosinski] is quiet, polite and interested in other people's opinions in a way that is rare in moviedom's major leagues.
  5. ^ The building of a legacy
  6. ^ "Death Notice: CATHERINE JULIA PROVOST". Chicago Tribune. March 14, 2008.
  7. ^ a b Mottle, Jeff. "Interview with Joe Kosinski (Director of TRON Legacy)". Retrieved February 22, 2011.
  8. ^ "First Location Shot from 'Tron 2.0'". Robert Falconer. cinemaspy. 2009-04-08. Archived from the original on 2009-09-05. Retrieved 2009-08-11.
  9. ^ Comic-Con: Tron 2 Retitled TRON Legacy; IMAX 3D; Concept Art and New Scene Revealed. Archived 2012-09-11 at Posted on Thursday, July 23, 2009 by Peter Sciretta on SlashFilm
  10. ^ Joseph Kosinski On Oblivion
  11. ^ Frappier, Rob (August 4, 2010). "Disney Acquires The Rights to Joseph Kosinski's 'Oblivion' [Updated]". Retrieved March 21, 2011.
  12. ^ Kit, Borys (March 16, 2011). "Karl Gajdusek Tapped to Re-Write Disney's Horizons (Exclusive)". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved March 21, 2011.
  13. ^ Fleming, Mike (May 20, 2011). "Tom Cruise Commits To $100 Million Universal Sci-Fi Pic 'Oblivion' For Fall". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved May 21, 2011.
  14. ^ "'TRON: Legacy' Director Joseph Kosinski Will Return For 'TRON 3′". 11 March 2015.
  15. ^ "Disney Not Moving Forward With 'Tron 3' (Exclusive)". 29 May 2015.
  16. ^ "Paramount Sets 'Top Gun 2' For July 2019; Joseph Kosinski Firmed For Tom Cruise Pic". Deadline Hollywood. June 30, 2017.
  17. ^ Kit, Borys (June 7, 2022). "Behind Apple's Megadeal for Brad Pitt Formula One Racing Film From Joseph Kosinski". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved June 11, 2022.
  18. ^ Warner Bros. Bets on Kosinski for 'Logan's Run' Archived 2009-09-04 at the Wayback Machine, by Chris McKeown, on 22-08-2007, Sci Fi Updates website.
  19. ^ Black Hole remake by Tron Team
  20. ^ "Agents Hunt Down Disguised Aliens in 'Archangels'". 14 July 2010.
  21. ^ "Joseph Kosinski Plans Mysterious Action Thriller". 14 October 2013.
  22. ^ 'Tron' Helmer Joseph Kosinski to Direct 'Twilight Zone' Film (Exclusive)
  23. ^ "Joseph Kosinski Eyes Adaptation of Videogame 'Gran Turismo' at Sony". 3 March 2015.
  24. ^ "Faculty listing at Columbia GSAP website". Archived from the original on 2009-09-04.
  25. ^ Beyond the Blob—Digital Technology in Columbia's Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation, from Columbia Interactive.
  26. ^ 5D Future of Immersive Design Conference

External links[edit]