Oscar Directors: Jordan, Neil–Writer First, Filmmaker Second (The Crying Game, Butcher Boy)

Neil Jordan is the director of Jodie Foster’s new starring vehicle, the vigilante actioner, “The Brave,” opening September 14.

As director and screenwriter, Jordan has written and directed some of the most provocative and socially topical films in modern cinema. In 1993, he won an Oscar Award for Best Original Screenplay and received a second Oscar nomination for Best Director for “The Crying Game.” The film also brought Jordan a BAFTA Award for Best British Film, an Independent Spirit Award for Best Foreign Film, the London Film Critics Awards for Best Screenwriter and Best Director, the New York Film Critics Award for Best Screenplay, and the Writers Guild of America and Writers Guild of Great Britain Awards for Best Original Screenplay, among other honors.

Jordan most recently wrote, directed and produced “Breakfast on Pluto,” based on the novel by Patrick McCabe and starring Cillian Murphy as Patrick “Kitten” Braden, a transvestite cabaret singer in the tumultuous London of the 1960s and 1970s. Jordan won Irish Film and Television Awards for Best Director and Best Screenplay (shared with McCabe) for his work on the film, which also starred Liam Neeson and Stephen Rea.

A native of Ireland, Jordan made his feature film directorial debut in 1982 with the thriller “Angel,” for which he won the Evening Standard Award for Most Promising Newcomer. The film also marked his first collaboration with actor Stephen Rea, who has since appeared in almost all of the director’s films.

Jordan then wrote and directed 1984’s “The Company of Wolves,” for which he won the London Film Critics Award for Best Director. He followed with the acclaimed 1986 feature “Mona Lisa,” starring Bob Hoskins in an Oscar-nominated performance, for which he earned BAFTA Award nominations for Best Director, Best Original Screenplay and Best Film.

Jordan’s first Hollywood studio films were “High Spirits,” starring Peter O’Toole and Liam Neeson, and “We’re No Angels,” written by David Mamet and teaming stars Robert De Niro and Sean Penn. Returning to Ireland, he wrote and directed the 1991 feature “The Miracle,” a deeply personal film based on his early stories.

In 1992, “The Crying Game,” with its stunning climactic twist, became one of the most talked about films of the year and brought Jordan worldwide acclaim. He then directed the controversial 1994 hit “Interview with the Vampire,” based on Anne Rice’s best-selling novel and starring Tom Cruise and Brad Pitt. After the success of that film, he wrote and directed “Michael Collins,” starring Liam Neeson in the title role of the Irish revolutionary, for which Jordan won the Golden Lion for Best Film at the Venice Film Festival.

Jordan went on to collaborate with Irish novelist Patrick McCabe to adapt his novel The Butcher Boy for the screen. The 1997 film brought Jordan a Silver Bear Award for Best Director at the Berlin Film Festival.

In 1999, Jordan wrote and directed two very different films: the thriller “In Dreams,” starring Annette Bening and Robert Downey Jr.; and the romantic drama “The End of the Affair,” based on Graham Greenes novel and starring Ralph Fiennes and Julianne Moore, who earned an Oscar nomination for her role. For the latter film, Jordan won BAFTA and Evening Standard Film Awards for Best Screenplay, garnered BAFTA, Evening Standard and Golden Globe Award nominations for Best Director, and earned a BAFTA Award nomination for Best Film.

Jordan’s subsequent film credits include a 14-minute film, based on Samuel Beckett’s play “Not I,” which premiered at the 2000 Cannes Film Festival, and “The Good Thief,” starring Nick Nolte.

In addition to his film work, Jordan is a noted author. In 1974, he won the Guardian Fiction Prize for his book of short stories, Night in Tunisia. He went on to publish three novels: The Past (1979), The Dream of a Beast (1983) and Sunrise with Sea Monster (1994). His fourth and most recent novel, Shade (2004), was published to critical acclaim throughout Europe and the U.S.

Posted August 2007