Oscar Directors: Jordan, Neil (Crying Game, Interview with Vampire, Butcher Boy)

Neil Jordan’s Career

Neil Jordan lives in Dublin, Ireland. Born in 1950 in Sligo, Ireland, Jordan began his early career as a writer.

After setting up The Irish Writers’ Cooperative in 1974, he won The Guardian Fiction Prize for his book of short stories Night in Tunisia (1976). He went on to publish three novels, The Past (1979), The Dream of a Beast (1983) and Sunrise with Sea Monster (1994). Jordan’s published fiction has been translated into several languages. His fourth novel, Shade (2004), has received critical acclaim and since been published widely throughout Europe and the US.

Jordan began directing feature films in 1982 with “Angel,” for which he won The London Evening Standard’s Most Promising Newcomer Award. He followed this with “The Company of Wolves” and “Mona Lisa,” starring Bob Hoskins in a riveting performance for which he was nominated for an Oscar.

“High Spirits” and “We’re No Angels” represent Jordan’s first encounter with the Hollywood system, after which he returned to Ireland to direct a small, deeply personal film based on his early stories, “The Miracle,” starring Beverly D’Angelo.

“The Crying Game,” based on his own provocative and politically charged screenplay, proved almost impossible to finance, but when it was released in the U.S. in the fall of 1992, it became the sensation, earning six Oscar nominations, including Best original Screenplay for Jordan.

Jordan then returned to Hollywood to make “Interview with the Vampire”, starring Tom Cruise and Brad Pitt. The success of this enabled him to finally find financing for “Michael Collins”, a long-cherished project about the Irish revolutionary, starring Liam Neeson and Julia Roberts, which won two of the top awards at the Venice Film Festival, the Volpi Cup for Neeson and The Golden Lion for Best Film.

He went on to collaborate with Irish novelist Pat McCabe to adapt his novel “The Butcher Boy” for the screen in 1997. It won Jordan a Silver Bear award for Best Director at the Berlin Film Festival.

In 1999 Jordan directed the DreamWorks’ psychological thriller “In Dreams,” starring Annette Bening, Robert Downey Jr., Aidan Quinn, and Stephen Rea.

In the same year, he directed his own adaptation of Graham Greene’s novel “The End of the Affair,” starring Ralph Fiennes, Julianne Moore and Stephen Rea. The film was nominated for four Golden Globe Awards, two Academy Awards and ten BAFTA Awards, Jordan was honored with the BAFTA for the Best Adapted Screenplay.

Jordan went on to direct a fourteen minute film based on Samuel Beckett’s play, “Not I,” which starred Julianne Moore and had its world premiere at the Cannes Film Fest in 2000.

Neil’s next film, “The Good Thief,” was shot in the South of France in 2002, with Nick Nolte in the lead.