Pierre Morel (Taken) is the director of "From Paris With Love," which stars Jonathan Rhys Meyers and John Travolta. The film is being released February 5 by Lionsgate.
The Paris-based French director joined the camera department right after film school. Shortly thereafter he became a camera and steadicam operator, working on numerous TV shows, commercials and movies, frequently involving American productions shooting in France and Europe. After a few years, he also simultaneously worked as a Director of Photography.
His meeting with Luc Besson was the beginning of a regular collaboration, and in turn, his career.
After operating camera and steadicam on THE MESSENGER and on the French action comedy TAXI, he assumed cinematography responsibilities on THE TRANSPORTER (with Jason Statham) and UNLEASHED (starring Jet Li and Morgan Freeman).
Under Luc Besson’s advice, Pierre left his cinematographer’s career to direct his first movie. DISTRICT B13 was released in 2005 and was elected by TIME Magazine as one of the Top 10 movies of that year.
In 2006, he directed TAKEN, starring Liam Neeson. It was released in 2009 in the United States on Super Bowl weekend, a weekend historically considered a “dead weekend” at the box-office. Yet, TAKEN went on to become a word-of-mouth sensation, staying atop the U.S. box office for weeks and ultimately grossing $145 million domestically, $227 million worldwide. The film instantly catapulted Pierre Morel to the top of every studio’s A-list for action-adventure filmmakers.