PAUL JOSEPH SCHRADER (born July 22, 1946) is an American screenwriter
, film director , and film critic . Schrader wrote or co-wrote
screenplays for four
Martin Scorsese films:
Taxi Driver (1976), Raging
Bull (1980), The Last Temptation of Christ (1988), and Bringing Out
the Dead (1999). Schrader has also directed 18 feature films,
including his directing debut crime drama , Blue Collar (co-written
with his brother,
Leonard Schrader ), the crime drama Hardcore (a
loosely autobiographical film also written by Schrader), his 1982
remake of the horror classic Cat People , the crime drama American
Gigolo (1980), the biographical drama Mishima: A Life in Four Chapters
(1985), the cult film
* 1 Schrader\'s upbringing and critical writing * 2 Film career * 3 Theatre career * 4 Themes
* 5 Awards
* 5.1 Won * 5.2 Nominated
* 6 Filmography
* 6.1 Feature films
* 6.2 Short films
* 6.2.1 Director * 6.2.2 Music video director * 6.2.3 Actor
* 6.3 Stage plays * 6.4 Short documentary appearances * 6.5 Documentary feature film appearances
* 6.6 Television appearances
* 6.6.1 As himself
* 6.7 Soundtrack
* 7 References * 8 Further reading * 9 External links
SCHRADER\'S UPBRINGING AND CRITICAL WRITING
Schrader was born in
Grand Rapids, Michigan , the son of Joan (née
Fisher) and Charles A. Schrader, an executive. Schrader's family
attended the Calvinist Christian Reformed Church . His early life
was based upon the religion's strict principles and parental
education. He did not see a film until, when he was seventeen years
old, he was able to sneak away from home. In an interview he stated
The Absent-Minded Professor was the first film he saw. In his own
words, he was "very unimpressed" by it, while
Wild in the Country
Schrader earned his B.A. from
Calvin College , with a minor in
theology. He then earned an M.A. in Film Studies at the UCLA Film
School upon the recommendation of
The September–October 2006 issue of Film Comment magazine published his essay Canon Fodder, which attempted to establish criteria for judging film masterworks.
Other film-makers who made a lasting impression on Schrader are John
Jean Renoir ,
Roberto Rossellini ,
Alfred Hitchcock , and Sam
Peckinpah . Renoir's
The Rules of the Game
In 1974 Schrader and his brother Leonard co-wrote
The Yakuza , a film
set in the Japanese crime world. The script became the subject of a
bidding war, eventually selling for $325,000. The film was directed by
The Yakuza failed commercially, it brought Schrader to the
attention of the new generation of
Schrader's script about an obsessed New York City taxi driver became Martin Scorsese's film Taxi Driver , which was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Picture and won the Palme d\'Or at the Cannes Film Festival . Besides Taxi Driver (1976) Scorsese also drew on scripts by Schrader for the boxing tale Raging Bull (1980), co-written with Mardik Martin , The Last Temptation of Christ (1988), and Bringing Out the Dead (1999).
Thanks partly to critical acclaim for Taxi Driver, Schrader was able
to direct his first feature, Blue Collar (1978), co-written with his
brother Leonard. Blue Collar features
Among Paul Schrader's films in the 1980s were American Gigolo
Schrader also directed Patty Hearst (1988), about the kidnapping and
transformation of the
Hearst Corporation heiress. In 1987, he was a
member of the jury at the
37th Berlin International Film Festival
His 1990s work included the travelers-in-Venice tale The Comfort of
Strangers (1990), adapted by
Harold Pinter from the
In 1998, Schrader won critical acclaim for the drama Affliction . The film tells the story of a troubled small town policeman ( Nick Nolte ) who becomes obsessed with solving the mystery behind a fatal hunting accident. Schrader's script was based on the novel by Russell Banks . The film was nominated for multiple awards including two Academy Awards for acting (for Nolte and James Coburn ). The same year, Schrader received the Austin Film Festival\'s Distinguished Screenwriter Award.
In 1999, Schrader received the Laurel Award for Screenwriting Achievement from the Writers Guild of America .
In 2003, Schrader made entertainment headlines after being fired from The Exorcist: Dominion, a prequel film to the horror classic The Exorcist from 1973. The film's production companies Morgan Creek Productions and Warner Bros. Pictures greatly disliked the film Schrader had made. Director Renny Harlin was hired to then re-shoot nearly the entire film, which was released as Exorcist: The Beginning on August 20, 2004 to disastrously negative reviews and embarrassing box office receipts. Warner Bros. and Morgan Creek put over $80 million into the endeavor and Harlin's film only made back $41 million domestically. Schrader's version of the film eventually premiered at the Brussels International Festival of Fantastic Film on March 18, 2005 as Exorcist: The Original Prequel. Due to extreme interest in Schrader's version from critics and cinephiles alike, Warner Bros. agreed to give the film a limited theatrical release later that year under the title Dominion: Prequel to the Exorcist . The film was only shown on 110 screens around the United States and made just $251 thousand. The critics liked Schrader's version much better than Harlin's. However, Schrader's film ultimately met with a generally negative reaction.
After that, Schrader filmed
The Walker (2007), starring Woody
Harrelson as a male escort caught up in a political murder enquiry,
and the Israeli-set
After five years of trying and failing to find funding to make
feature films, Schrader returned with The Canyons (2013) an erotic
dramatic thriller written by
Bret Easton Ellis
As of April, 2014, Schrader is in post-production on The Dying of the
Light , an espionage thriller starring
Schrader headed the International Jury of the 2007 Berlin International Film Festival, and in 2011 became a jury member for the ongoing Filmaka short film contest.
On July 2, 2009, Schrader was awarded the inaugural Lifetime
Achievement in Screenwriting award at the ScreenLit Festival in
Schrader's second marriage is to actress
Mary Beth Hurt
Schrader has written two stage plays, Berlinale and Cleopatra Club.
The latter saw its premiere at the
Powerhouse Theater in Poughkeepsie
, New York , in 1995 and its foreign language debut in
A recurring theme in Schrader's films is the protagonist on a self-destructive path, or undertaking actions which work against himself, deliberately or subconsciously. The finale often bears an element of redemption, preceded by a painful sacrifice or cathartic act of violence.
Schrader has repeatedly referred to Taxi Driver, American Gigolo, Light Sleeper, The Canyons and The Walker as "a man in a room" stories. The protagonist in each film changes from an angry, then narcissistic, later anxious character, to a person who hides behind a mask of superficiality.
Although many of his films or scripts are based on real-life biographies (Raging Bull, Mishima: A Life in Four Chapters, Patty Hearst, Auto Focus), Schrader confessed having problems with biographical films due to their altering of actual events, which he tried to prevent by imposing structures and stylization instead.
* 1976 – National Board of Review, USA, NBR Award – Top 10 Films of the Year for Obsession * 1977 – National Society of Film Critics Awards, USA, 2nd Place, NSFC Award – Best Film for Taxi Driver * 1980 – Los Angeles Film Critics Association Awards, LAFCA Award – Best Picture for Raging Bull * 1980 – National Board of Review, USA, NBR Award – Top 10 Films of the Year for Raging Bull * 1980 – New York Film Critics Circle Awards, 3rd Place, NYFCC Award – Best Film for Raging Bull * 1981 – National Society of Film Critics Awards, USA, 2nd Place, NSFC Award – Best Film for Raging Bull (tied with Every Man for Himself) * 1981 – Boston Society of Film Critics Awards, BSFC Award – Best Film for Raging Bull * 1990 – National Film Preservation Board, USA, National Film Registry for Raging Bull * 1993 – New York Film Critics Circle Awards, 3rd place NYFCC Award – Best Film for Light Sleeper * 1994 – National Film Preservation Board, USA, National Film Registry for Taxi Driver * 1997 – Valladolid International Film Festival, Youth Jury Award – Special Mention for Affliction * 1998 – Taos Talking Picture Festival, Storyteller Award * 1998 – New York Film Critics Circle Awards, 2nd Place, NYFCC Award – Best Film for Affliction * 1999 – National Society of Film Critics Awards, USA, 2nd Place, NSFC Award – Best Film for Affliction * 1999 – Golden Trailer Awards, Golden Trailer – Best in Show for Bringing Out the Dead * 1999 – Writers Guild of America, USA, Laurel Award for Screen Writing Achievement * 2005 – American Film Institute, USA, Franklin J. Schaffner Award * 2007 – Stockholm Film Festival, Lifetime Achievement Award * 2008 – St. Louis International Film Festival, Lifetime Achievement Award * 2009 – Cinemanila International Film Festival, Lifetime Achievement Award * 2013 – Melbourne Underground Film Festival, Best Foreign Director for The Canyons * 2013 – Melbourne Underground Film Festival, Best Foreign Film for The Canyons * 2013 – Ghent International Film Festival, Joseph Plateau Honorary Award * 2013 – Valladolid International Film Festival, Honorary Spike for The Canyons
* 1977 – Golden Globes, USA, Golden Globe – Best Screenplay –
Motion Picture for Taxi Driver
* 1977 – Writers Guild of America, USA, WGA Award (Screen) for
* 1977 – Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror Films, USA,
Golden Scroll – Best Horror Film for Obsession
* 1979 – Berlin International Film Festival, Golden Berlin Bear
* 1981 – Golden Globes, USA, Golden Globe – Best Screenplay –
Motion Picture for
Raging Bull (shared with Mardik Martin)
* 1985 – Cannes Film Festival,
Palme d'Or for Mishima: A Life in
* 1988 – Cannes Film Festival,
Palme d'Or for Patty Hearst
* 1988 – National Board of Review, USA, NBR Award – Top 10 Films
of the Year for The Last Temptation of Christ
* 1989 – Political Film Society, USA, PFS Award – Exposé for
* 1992 – Berlin International Film Festival, Golden Berlin Bear
for Light Sleeper
* 1992 – Deauville Film Festival, Critics Award for Light Sleeper
* 1993 – Independent Spirit Awards, Independent Spirit Award –
Best Screenplay for Light Sleeper
* 1993 – Mystfest, Best Film for Light Sleeper
* 1995 – Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror Films, USA,
Saturn Award – Best Single Genre Television Presentation for Witch
* 1997 –
Sitges - Catalan International Film Festival
YEAR NAME DIRECTOR SCREENWRITER NOTES
1974 The Yakuza
1976 Taxi Driver
Yes Directed by Martin Scorsese .
Yes Directed by Brian De Palma .
1977 Rolling Thunder
Yes Directed by John Flynn . Co-written with Heywood Gould .
1978 Blue Collar Yes Yes Co-written with Leonard Schrader.
1979 Hardcore Yes Yes
Yes Directed by Joan Tewkesbury . Co-written with Leonard Schrader. Producer.
1980 American Gigolo Yes Yes
Yes Directed by Martin Scorsese. Co-written with Mardik Martin .
1982 Cat People Yes
1985 Mishima: A Life in Four Chapters Yes Yes Co-written with Leonard Schrader and Chieko Schrader.
Yes Directed by Peter Weir .
1987 Light of Day Yes Yes
1988 Patty Hearst Yes
Written by Nicholas Kazan .
The Last Temptation of Christ
Yes Directed by Martin Scorsese.
1990 The Comfort of Strangers Yes
Written by Harold Pinter .
1994 Witch Hunt (TV) Yes
Written by Joseph Dougherty .
1996 City Hall
1997 Touch Yes Yes
Affliction Yes Yes
1999 Forever Mine Yes Yes
Yes Directed by Martin Scorsese.
Written by Michael Gerbosi.
2005 Dominion: Prequel to the Exorcist Yes
2007 The Walker Yes Yes
Written by Noah Stollman.
2013 The Canyons Yes
Bret Easton Ellis
2014 The Dying of the Light Yes Yes
2016 Dog Eat Dog Yes
Also actor. Screenplay by Matthew Wilder, based on the novel by Edward Bunker .
2017 First Reformed Yes Yes
TBA The Jesuit
Yes Post-production. Directed by Alfonso Pineda Ulloa .
* 1970 – For Us, Cinema is the Most Important of Arts * 1995 – New Blue
Music Video Director
* 1985 – "Tight Connection to My Heart" for
* 2007 – God's Lonely Man as 'Himself'
* Berlinale * The Cleopatra Club
SHORT DOCUMENTARY APPEARANCES
* 2003 – Sex at 24 Frames Per Second
* 2005 – Budd Boetticher: A Man Can Do That
* 2005 – Budd Boetticher: An American Original
* 2005 – Pickpocket:
DOCUMENTARY FEATURE FILM APPEARANCES
* 2013 – Richard Pryor: Omit the Logic * 2013 – Milius * 2011 – Eames: The Architect & The Painter * 2011 – These Amazing Shadows * 2009 – Tales from the Script (Film Website) * 2008 – Erika Rabau: Puck of Berlin * 2003 – Easy Riders, Raging Bulls: How the Sex, Drugs and Rock 'N' Roll Generation Saved Hollywood * 2003 – A Decade Under the Influence
* The 100 Greatest Films (TV Movie documentary – aired 2001)
* AFI's 100 Years... 100 Movies: The Antiheroes (TV Movie
documentary -aired 1998)
* American Masters (episode: "Preston Sturges: The Rise and Fall of
an American Dreamer" – aired July 2, 1990)
* Charlie Rose (episode: "Episode dated 5 January 1999" – aired
January 5, 1999)
* Días de cine (episodes: "Episode dated 10 March 2011," "Episode
dated 24 October 2013," "Episode dated 27 February 2014" – aired
March 10, 2011, October 24, 2013, February 27, 2014)
* The Directors (episode: "The Films of Paul Schrader" – aired
* Fear – Angst (TV Movie documentary, aired 1984)
* Festival Pass with Chris Gore (TV Series documentary, aired 2002)
* Godard Made in USA (TV Movie documentary, aired 2010)
* Heroes of Black Comedy (TV Mini-Series documentary, aired 2002)
* Transcendental Style in Film: Ozu, Bresson, Dreyer, Da Capo Press, 1988 (ISBN 0-306-80335-6 ). * Notes on Film Noir, Film Comment, Vol. 8, No. 1, Spring 1972.
* Paul Schrader\'s website