Sacha Gervasi

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Sacha Gervasi
Sacha Gervasi.jpg
Gervasi during the filming of Anvil! The Story of Anvil
Alexander Sacha Simon Gervasi

1966 (age 52–53)
EducationWestminster School
King's College London
OccupationScreenwriter, director
Jessica de Rothschild (m. 2010)
Partner(s)Geri Halliwell
FamilyFrank Gervasi (grandfather)
Georgia Gibbs (step-grandmother)

Alexander Sacha Simon Gervasi[1] (born 1966) is a British-American film director, screenwriter and former journalist.

Early life[edit]

Gervasi was born in London. His mother, Milli Kasoy, was Canadian.[2] His father, Prof. Sean Gervasi, was an American economist who had worked as an economic advisor to President John F. Kennedy in the White House, was an expert in Yugoslav affairs and had taught at the University of Oxford, the London School of Economics and at the University of Paris in Vincennes-Saint-Denis.[3][4]

His uncle, Tom Gervasi, was an expert on intelligence matters and author of the Myth of Soviet Military Supremacy and the Arsenal of Democracy series.[5][6] His paternal grandfather was foreign correspondent and author Frank Gervasi and his paternal step-grandmother was singer Georgia Gibbs.

Gervasi was educated at Westminster School, and then read modern history at King's College London. As a teenager in 1981, Gervasi befriended Canadian metal band Anvil when they toured London and became a roadie for the band on three tours, eventually becoming close friends until a falling out in 1986.[7]


Gervasi's first position was to work for the Poet Laureate of the United Kingdom, Ted Hughes at the Arvon Writing Foundation. After completing his degree, he subsequently worked for John Calder of the Samuel Beckett archive helping to arrange a vast sale of Beckett's personal papers at Sotheby's in 1989, including Beckett's own annotated version of Waiting for Godot which sold to Trinity College, Dublin.

Gervasi moved to Los Angeles in 1995 to attend the graduate screen-writing programme at UCLA Film School, where he twice won the BAFTA/LA scholarship. While in the programme, he supported himself by working as a journalist, writing for newspapers and magazines, including The Sunday Times, The Observer, and Punch.

From 1999 to 2000, he was the voice of Jaguar Cars on US radio and television.

Gervasi got his film-writing start with The Big Tease, which he co-wrote with Craig Ferguson. He went on to pen The Terminal, made into a film in 2004 directed by Steven Spielberg. According to London's The Daily Telegraph: "He is one of only two English screenwriters to have their scripts made into movies by Steven Spielberg. The other is Tom Stoppard [for Empire of the Sun]."[8]

Other films for which he has written include Comrade Rockstar and How to Marry a Millionaire. He wrote and executive produced Henry's Crime. The film debuted at the Toronto Film Festival in September 2010.[9]

He was appointed the Hunter/Zakin screenwriting chair at UCLA and taught there in spring 2009.

In 2009, Gervasi presented Steven Zaillian with the Austin Film Festival's Distinguished Screenwriter Award.

Anvil! The Story of Anvil[edit]

Gervasi directed Anvil! The Story of Anvil, a documentary of the Canadian heavy metal band, Anvil, who had then been together for over 30 years. Gervasi first met Anvil on 21 September 1982, after a gig at The Marquee Club in London. He introduced himself to the band as "England's number one Anvil fan". He subsequently became a roadie for the band on their 1982, 1984 and 1985 tours, and was given the nickname "teabag" by the band.[10] He reunited with Anvil after a break of 20 years, and started filming a documentary about them in November 2005.[10]

The film premièred at the Sundance Film Festival in January 2008, and won Audience Awards at the 2008 Sydney Film Festival, Los Angeles Film Festival and Galway International Film Festival.

The film has received praise and high acclaim in many reviews, including a 98% rating on Rotten Tomatoes.[11][12][13][14] The Times called it "the greatest film ever made about rock and roll".[15]

The film was named Best Documentary of 2009 at the Evening Standard British Film Awards in London.[16] Chris Martin of Coldplay, a fan of the film, presented Gervasi with the award.

In 2009, the Motion Picture Association of America opened the category of Best Picture nominees from 5 to 10. In October 2009, Anvil! The Story of Anvil was the first screener to be sent out for considering of the expanded Best Picture category as well as for Best Documentary.[17] There was disappointment when Anvil was one of the higher-profile films not short-listed in the Best Documentary category.[18]

The film went on to win Best Documentary at the 2010 Independent Spirit Awards in Los Angeles and Best Music Film and Best Documentary Feature at the International Documentary Association Awards.[19]

Anvil! The Story of Anvil won an Emmy Award in 2010 in the category of Outstanding Arts and Cultural Programming.

In September 2018, The Guardian ranked Anvil! as the 7th best music documentary of all time.[20] In NME's survey of '50 Awesome Music Movies', Anvil! is ranked number 2.[21] A 2017 New York Post Decider article on the movie said, "almost ten years on from its initial release, Anvil ranks up there with the best rock documentaries ever made."[22]

Narrative directorial debut[edit]

In 2012, Gervasi directed Hitchcock starring Anthony Hopkins as Alfred Hitchcock, Helen Mirren as his wife Alma, and Scarlett Johansson as Janet Leigh.

The film was released by Fox Searchlight Pictures and nominated for the Academy Award for Best Makeup and Hairstyling at the 85th Academy Awards. Helen Mirren was nominated for a BAFTA, SAG Award, and Golden Globe for her performance as Alma Reville.

My Dinner with Hervé[edit]

In August 1993, Gervasi, then a young journalist working for the Mail on Sunday, was sent to Los Angeles to interview a number of high-profile celebrities, as well as Hervé Villechaize, the diminutive French actor who starred as Tattoo on the hit American TV series Fantasy Island and as Nick Nack in The Man with the Golden Gun. In October 2018, Vulture published a first-person account of his experiences with Villechaize.[23]

Twenty-five years after meeting Villechaize, Gervasi wrote and directed My Dinner with Hervé, a biopic of the actor based on the interviews conducted only days before the actor committed suicide in 1993. The film stars Emmy Award- and Golden Globe-winning actor Peter Dinklage and was produced by Oscar-winning Schindler's List writer Steven Zaillian.[24] The movie aired on HBO and has been nominated for an Emmy Award, Critics' Choice Award, PGA Award, and WGA Award for Best Longform Original. The film holds an 83% positive on Rotten Tomatoes.[25]

In November 2018, Mark Povinelli, the president of Little People of America, published an article on Variety stating that the film's depiction of Villechaize was an important step for the representation of little people.[26]

Other Projects[edit]

He adapted the remake of Jo Nesbø's Norwegian thriller Headhunters for Summit Entertainment[citation needed] and in December of 2018 it was announced that Gervasi would adapt Terrified for Fox Searchlight and Guillermo Del Toro.[27]

Personal life[edit]

His grandfather Frank Gervasi was Rome bureau chief for Hearst's International News Service and joined Collier's Weekly at the start of World War II, covering the fall of the Netherlands, Belgium, and France.[28] He was later a correspondent for The Washington Post and the chief of information for the Marshall Plan in Italy.[28]

His grandmother was Katherine McQuiggan from Philadelphia, but his grandfather Frank remarried, to singer Georgia Gibbs, years before Gervasi was born. Gibbs is known for a number of hits from the 1950s, including "Kiss of Fire" and "Dance with Me, Henry".[citation needed]

While in London, Gervasi co-founded the music group Future Primitives with Gavin Rossdale, playing drums, but left the year before they changed their name to Bush.[10]

On 14 May 2006, Geri Halliwell gave birth to their daughter, Bluebell Madonna Halliwell.[29]

In 2010, Gervasi married British theatre producer Jessica de Rothschild, daughter of British financier Evelyn Robert de Rothschild.[30][unreliable source?]


Feature films

Television films


  1. ^ Births, Marriages & Deaths Index of England & Wales, 1916–2005.; at
  2. ^ "I'm going to be a proper father to our baby". Daily Mail. London. 24 May 2006.
  3. ^ "Economist exposed U.S. German role in Balkans". Workers World News Service. 29 August 1996. Retrieved 1 December 2008.
  4. ^ "Why Is NATO in Yugoslavia? by Sean Gervasi". Institute of International Politics and Economics, Belgrade. 13 January 1996. Retrieved 1 December 2008.
  5. ^ "Tom Gervasi". Harper's Magazine. 1 December 2008. Retrieved 1 December 2008.
  6. ^ "In a Savage Irony, Pentagon Critic Tom Gervasi Is Laid Low – by His Own Toy Soldiers". People. 13 June 1988. Retrieved 1 December 2008.
  7. ^ Anvil: The Story of Anvil by Steve Kudlow and Robb Reiner (Foreword by Slash) Bantam Press (13 March 2009) ISBN 0-593-06364-3-page 127 and 165
  8. ^ Horan, Tom (26 January 2008). "Sundance Film Festival: Triumph of the sundance kids". The Daily Telegraph. London. Retrieved 1 November 2008.
  9. ^ Fleming, Michael (29 October 2009). "Farmiga, Caan partner for 'Crime'". Daily Variety. Retrieved 30 October 2009.
  10. ^ a b c "Sacha Gervasi: The Story of Anvil (A Tale of Two Metalheads)". 30 March 2009. Archived from the original on 29 November 2010. Retrieved 30 March 2009. Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)
  11. ^ Rodman, Sarah (12 April 2009). "Metal band Anvil lives!". The Boston Globe. Retrieved 2 May 2009.
  12. ^ "Movie Review: Sweetness and humor lighten load of 'Anvil'". Sacramento Bee. 1 May 2009. Archived from the original on 6 July 2009. Retrieved 2 May 2009. Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)
  13. ^ Anderson, John (18 May 2008). "Heavy Metal, Light on the Success". New York Times. Retrieved 2 May 2009.
  14. ^ "'Anvil': For Heavy-Metal Vets, It's A Hard-Rock Life". NPR. 10 April 2009. Retrieved 2 May 2009.
  15. ^ "Wendy Ide's films to look out for in 2009". The Times. 3 January 2009. Retrieved 6 August 2010.
  16. ^ "'Anvil is the headbangers fairytale". Evening Standard. London. 12 February 2010. Archived from the original on 16 February 2010. Retrieved 6 August 2010. Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)
  17. ^ Whipp, Glenn (29 October 2009). "Oscar's best pic expansion overdue". Daily Variety. Retrieved 30 October 2009.
  18. ^ Gleiberman, Owen (20 November 2009). "Oscar documentary scandal: The real reason that too many good movies got left out". Entertainment Weekly. Archived from the original on 23 November 2009. Retrieved 6 August 2010. Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)
  19. ^ Nelson, Steffie (10 December 2009). "'Anvils' Upset Victory". Variety. Retrieved 6 August 2010.
  20. ^ Gilbey, Ryan (20 September 2018). "The 20 best music documentaries - ranked!". The Guardian. Retrieved 23 January 2019.
  21. ^ Staff, NME (18 March 2010). "50 Awesome Music Movies". NME. Retrieved 23 January 2019.
  22. ^ Smith, Benjamin H. (12 May 2017). "A Decade On, 'Anvil: The Story of Anvil' Ascends To Rock Doc Valhalla". Decider. Retrieved 23 January 2019.
  23. ^ Gervasi, Sacha (18 October 2018). "My Dinner with Herve HBO Movie: Is It a True Story?". Vulture. Retrieved 18 October 2018.
  24. ^ Siegel, Tatiana (15 October 2008). "Mandate, Zaillian to produce 'Dinner'". Daily Variety. Retrieved 1 December 2008.
  25. ^ Wagmeister, Elizabeth (9 May 2017). "Peter Dinklage and Jamie Dornan Team Up for HBO Film". Variety. Retrieved 9 May 2017.
  26. ^ Povinelli, Mark (30 November 2018). "Why 'My Dinner With Hervé' Is an Important Step for Representation (Guest Column)". Variety. Retrieved 30 November 2018.
  27. ^ Fleming Jr., Mike (20 December 2018). "'Terrified' Remake: Guillermo Del Toro, Sacha Gervasi, Demián Rugna Team For Searchlight". Deadline. Retrieved 20 December 2018.
  28. ^ a b "Frank Gervasi, Author And Correspondent, 81". New York Times. 22 January 1990.
  29. ^ "Geri Halliwell Names Daughter Bluebell". Retrieved 23 October 2018.
  30. ^ "Geri Halliwell's ex Sacha Gervasi weds banking heiress worth £450million in star studded ceremony" by Sarah Fitzmaurice, Daily Mail 23 December 2010
  31. ^ "Sacha Gervasi". AllMovie. Retrieved 10 September 2018.

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