Frears in July 2014
|Born||Stephen Arthur Frears
20 June 1941
Leicester, Leicestershire, England
|Alma mater||Trinity College, Cambridge|
|Notable work||My Beautiful Laundrette
Stephen Arthur Frears (born 20 June 1941) is an English film director. Frears has directed British films since the 1980s including My Beautiful Laundrette, Dangerous Liaisons, High Fidelity, The Queen and Philomena. He has been nominated for two Academy Awards for Best Director for The Grifters and The Queen.
Frears was born in Leicester, England. His father, Russell E. Frears, was a general practitioner and accountant, and his mother, Ruth M. (née Danziger), was a social worker. Frears was brought up Anglican, and did not find out that his mother was Jewish until he was in his late 20s. Frears later went on to study law at Trinity College, Cambridge, from 1960 to 1963.
After graduating from Cambridge, Frears worked as an assistant director on the films Morgan! and if..... He spent most of his early directing career in television mainly for the BBC, but also for the commercial sector. Frears contributed to several high-profile anthology series such as the BBC's Play for Today, and produced a series of Alan Bennett's plays for LWT, taking responsibility for working in the gallery on The Old Crowd while Lindsay Anderson worked with the actors.
In the late 1980s, Frears came to international attention as a director of feature films. His directorial film debut was the detective spoof Gumshoe (1971), but it was his direction of My Beautiful Laundrette that unexpectedly led to wider notice. The interracial romance, based on a Hanif Kureishi screenplay and shot on 16 mm film, was released theatrically in 1985 to great acclaim, and received an Academy Award nomination and two nominations for BAFTA Awards: it is known as the film that helped launch both Frears and actor Daniel Day Lewis. In 1987, Frears worked with Adrian Edmondson on Mr Jolly Lives Next Door, for a 45-minute programme by cult ensemble The Comic Strip Presents. In 1985, Frears also directed a Comic Strip parody of Rebecca.
Frears next directed Joe Orton biopic Prick Up Your Ears, another collaboration with playwright Alan Bennett, which was followed by his second film from a Kureishi screenplay, Sammy and Rosie Get Laid (1987). The following year, Frears made Dangerous Liaisons in France, with a cast that included Glenn Close, John Malkovich and Michelle Pfeiffer. Based on the novel of romantic game playing, the film received numerous Academy Awards and BAFTA nominations, and Frears himself was nominated for the BAFTA Award for Best Direction. Frears had further critical success with his next film The Grifters, another tale of con-artists. The film earned Frears his first Academy Award nomination for best direction. In 2006, Frears directed The Queen, that depicts the death of Princess Diana on 31 August 1997. The Queen also achieved immense critical acclaim, box-office success, and awards. Frears himself received his second Academy Award nomination for best direction, and Helen Mirren won numerous awards for playing the title role.
Frears' other films include Western The Hi-Lo Country (1998), which won him the best director award at the Berlin Film Festival, High Fidelity (2000), which features a number of scenes where star John Cusack addresses the audience directly, Dirty Pretty Things (2002), and British theatre comedy Mrs Henderson Presents (2005). Frears returned to directing for television with The Deal (2003), which depicts an alleged deal between Tony Blair and Gordon Brown over which of them should become leader of the Labour Party in 1994.
His 2013 adoption drama Philomena, written by Jeff Pope and Steve Coogan, won the best screenplay award at the 2013 Venice Film Festival and the BAFTAS, and was nominated that year for Best Picture at the BAFTAs and the Academy Awards. It stars Coogan and Judi Dench. The same year, HBO released his television drama Muhammad Ali's Greatest Fight, which depicts the US supreme court deliberation over banning Muhammad Ali from boxing for refusing to serve in Vietnam war.
Many of Frears' films are based on stories of real life characters, but Frears has never met any of them.
Frears currently lives in London with his wife, the painter Anne Rothenstein, and their two children. He also has two children from his previous marriage to Mary-Kay Wilmers. Early in his career, Frears made a programme featuring the band the Scaffold and is name-checked ("Mr Frears had sticky out ears...") in their hit song "Lily the Pink".
- 1982: Won BAFTA TV Award for best Single Play BBC2 Playhouse: Going Gently (#7.27)
- 1989: Won César Award for Best Foreign Film for Dangerous Liaisons
- 1990: Nominated for Academy Award for Best Director for The Grifters
- 1995: Won Goya Award for Best European Film for The Snapper
- 1996: Nominated for Razzie Award for Worst Director for Mary Reilly
- 1996: Nominated for the Golden Bear in Berlin for Mary Reilly
- 1999: Won Silver Bear for Best Director for The Hi-Lo Country in Berlin.
- 2003: Won BAFTA TV Awards for Best Single Drama for The Deal
- 2006: Nominated for Academy Award for Best Director for The Queen
- 2007: Won Goya Award for Best European Film for The Queen
- 2009: Commandeur de l'Ordre des Arts et des Lettres
- 2014: Nominated for Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Directing for a Miniseries, Movie or a Dramatic Special for Muhammad Ali's Greatest Fight
- 2014: Golden Duke for Lifetime Achievement of the 5th Odessa International Film Festival
- The Burning (1967, short film) – See List of foreign films shot in Morocco
- Gumshoe (1971)
- The Hit (1984)
- My Beautiful Laundrette (1985)
- Prick Up Your Ears (1987)
- Sammy and Rosie Get Laid (1987)
- Dangerous Liaisons (1988)
- The Grifters (1990)
- Hero (1992)
- Mary Reilly (1996)
- The Van (1996)
- The Hi-Lo Country (1998)
- High Fidelity (2000)
- Liam (2000)
- Dirty Pretty Things (2002)
- Mrs Henderson Presents (2005)
- The Queen (2006)
- Chéri (2009)
- Tamara Drewe (2010)
- Lay the Favorite (2012)
- Philomena (2013)
- The Program (2015)
- Florence Foster Jenkins (2016)
- Victoria and Abdul (2017)
- A Day Out (1972)
- Sunset Across the Bay (1975)
- Three Men in a Boat (1975)
- Me! I'm Afraid of Virginia Woolf (1978)
- Afternoon Off (1979)
- One Fine Day (1979)
- Bloody Kids (1980)
- Walter and June (1983)
- Saigon: Year of the Cat (1983)
- The Bullshitters: Roll Out The Gunbarrel (1984)
- December Flower (1984)
- Consuela, or The New Mrs Saunders (1986)
- Mr. Jolly Lives Next Door (1987)
- The Snapper (1993)
- Fail Safe (2000)
- The Deal (2003)
- Muhammad Ali's Greatest Fight (2013)
- Stephen Frears Biography
- Hidden Heritage Inspires Director
- Naomi Pfefferman, "Frears and Pfeiffer reunite for Colette courtesan drama ‘Chéri’", Jewish Journal, 20 May 2009.
- Nick Curtis, "'I hope you find it vulgar'", Evening Standard, 10 November 2005.
- Husam sam Asi (2015-11-25), Stephen Frears on telling real life stories in cinema – Interview, retrieved 2016-04-03
- Scaffold, "Lily the Pink" lyrics.
- Elgot, Jessica (24 April 2015). "Celebrities sign statement of support for Caroline Lucas – but not the Greens". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 23 July 2015.
- "Berlinale: 1996 Programme". berlinale.de. Retrieved 2012-01-01.
- "Berlinale: 1999 Prize Winners". berlinale.de. Retrieved 2012-01-29.
- "Stephen Frears reçoit les insignes de commandeur des Arts et des Lettres" (in French). Agence France-Presse. 18 March 2009. Retrieved 20 March 2009.
- "Award Winners". Odessa International Film Festival (in Russian).
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