Albert Hughes
Birth Date:
April 1, 1972
Birth Place:
Detroit, Michigan, USA
Famous for:
Menace II Society' (1993)
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Menace II Society


American director and producer Albert Hughes is popular as part of the Hughes Brothers, along with his partner and twin Allen Hughes. Entering show business as music video directors, the Detroit natives rose to prominence with their feature film debut “Menace II Society” (1993), which was well received by critics and a surprise hit. They won an Independent Spirit nomination for their effort. They also co-directed the fiction films “Dead Presidents” (1995, earned a Karlovy Vary International Film Festival nomination) and “From Hell” (2001, received a Black Reel nomination) and the documentary “American Pimp” (1999, nabbed a Grand Jury Prize nomination at Sundance and a Black Reel nomination). Albert also served as an executive producer for the American TV series version of “Touching Evil” (2004). Moviegoers should look forward to the brothers' directorial efforts in “The Book of Eli” (2010).

Known for his bluntness, Albert has been involved in several altercations, including one with rap artist Tupac Shakur. In 1994, Albert and his brother took Shakur to court after the rapper attacked the Hughes during a music video shoot. As a result of the incident, Shakur, who had originally been set to star in “Menace II Society,” was replaced by another actor. He also received fifteen days in jail for the assault and another incident that happened a day before his sentencing.

How to Be a Burglar

Childhood and Family:

Albert Hughes was born on April 1, 1972, in Detroit, Michigan, to an African American father and an Armenian mother. His twin brother, Allen, is nine minutes younger than him. Their parents divorced when the boys were two years old, leaving them under the guidance of their mother, Aida Hughes. She moved the family to Pomona, California, in 1981 when the boys were nine years old. A tough single parent, she took on odd jobs while raising her twins and put herself through school. Her hard work paid off within three years when she set up her own business, a vocational rehabilitation center for employees who had been hurt on the job. The boy's mother went on to become a president of Pomona's chapter of the National Organization for Women.

Albert and his brother got a video camera from their mom at age 12. They quickly developed a love for filmmaking and spent much of their leisure time making short films. While in high school, they made a short called “How to Be a Burglar” for a class assignment. After dropping out of high school, Albert began his professional filmmaking studies at Los Angeles City College.

Albert has one daughter.

The Book of Eli


Making short films by the age of 12, Albert Hughes had shown some of the work on a local cable station by the time he was in high school. Often working with his twin brother, he received his first break when one of the brothers' films, “The Drive By,” won an agent. Before long, the pair found themselves directing music video for rap artists like Tupac Shakur, KRS-One, Digital Underground, and Tone-Loc.

Using money they earned from directing videos, Albert and his brother made their feature directorial debut with “Menace II Society” (1993), which they also co-produced and wrote. Telling the story of a young African American man leaving the projects, the urban drama, which starred Tyrin Turner, Larenz Tate, Jada Pinkett Smith and Samuel L. Jackson, premiered at the Cannes Film Festival in 1993 and earned critical acclaim. The brothers were nominated for an Independent Spirit Award for Best First Feature, which they shared with producer Darin Scott. At the box office, “Menace II Society” grossed almost $30 million domestically, with an original budget of $3.5 million.

With the film's stunning success, Albert and his brother were allowed to leave New Line Cinema, which had produced “Menace II Society,” and signed a two picture, three year contract with Disney's Caravan Productions. They also set up their own production and record label, Underworld Entertainment. Consisting of two divisions, Underworld Productions and Underworld Records, the company hoped to produce their films and soundtracks represent rap and hip-hop recording artists.

Two years later, Albert and Allen produced, wrote and directed “Dead Presidents,” a drama about the life of Anthony Curtis (played by Larenz Tate), a Vietnam veteran struggling to support his family who turns to a life of crime. Released on October 4, 1995, the Hughes brothers jointly picked up a Crystal Globe nomination at the 1996 Karlovy Vary International Film Festival for their work on the film.

After the commercial failure of “Dead Presidents,” the brothers disappeared from the moviemaking circuits for almost four years. They returned in 1999 when they directed and produced the documentary film “American Pimp.” The film brought them a Grand Jury Prize nomination for Best Documentary at the 1999 Sundance Film Festival and a Black Reel nomination for Theatrical - Best Director. Originally, Allen and his brother had been set to adapt Iceberg Slim's autobiography, “Pimp: The Story of My Life,” into a movie for the wide screen, but gave up the chance in favor of making the praised documentary.

2001 saw Albert serve as a photographer for Doug Pray's documentary “Scratch,” which he also executive produced. Later that same year, he revisited fiction filmmaking with the thriller “From Hell,” which was about the Jack the Ripper murders. Adapted from the graphic novel of the same name by Alan Moore and Eddie Campbell with a screenplay by Terry Hayes and Rafael Yglesias, the film starred Johnny Depp, Heather Graham, and Ian Holm. It received mixed reviews and grossed over $31 million domestically and $74 million worldwide. The brothers netted a Black Reel nomination for Theatrical - Best Director for their work.

The following year, Albert and his brother could be seen directing Korn music videos for the group's singles “Here to Stay” and “Thoughtless.” They also made TV commercials for Nike.

In 2004, Albert worked as an executive producer on the TV series “Touching Evil,” which was based on the 1997 British TV miniseries of the same name. The American version, starring Jeffrey Donovan as detective David Creegan, received critical acclaim but failed to attract a large audience. The show ran for 12 episodes on the USA Network.

Recently, Albert and Allen completed their new film, “The Book of Eli,” based on a script by Gary Whitta. The post-apocalyptic action movie is set to be released on January 15, 2010. Cast members include Denzel Washington, Gary Oldman, Mila Kunis, Jennifer Beals, and Michael Gambon.


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© Retna
© Twentieth Century Fox
© Retna
© Warner Bros. Pictures
© Warner Bros. Pictures
© Warner Bros. Pictures
© Warner Bros. Pictures
© Warner Bros. Pictures
© Twentieth Century Fox