PROFILE
Name:
Antoine Fuqua
Birth Date:
January 19, 1966
Birth Place:
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA
Nationality:
American
Famous for:
Director of 'Training Day' (2001)
BIOGRAPHY
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Director of Training Day

Background:

American film director Antoine Fuqua is famous for the successful movie “Training Day” (2001), which won Denzel Washington a 2002 Academy Award and Ethan Hawke a Best Supporting Actor nomination at the same gala. Fuqua took home a 2002 Black Reel Award for his work on the film. First making a name for himself as a director of music videos and commercials, Fuqua worked with artists like Toni Braxton, Arrested Development, Stevie Wonder and Coolio as well as directed commercials for Reebok, Toyota, and Sprite before venturing into the cinematic industry with “The Replacement Killers” (1998). After his second film, “Bait,” (2000) immediately vanished from the box office, Fuqua scored his big breakthrough with “Training Day.” He went on to receive Black Reel nominations for the war film “Tears of the Sun” (2003) and the documentary “Lightning in a Bottle” (2004). Subsequent film credits include “King Arthur” (2004), “Shooter” (2007) and the 2009 Sundance premiered “Brooklyn's Finest” which should be released in theaters in March 2010.

Fuqua is married to Haitian-American actress Lela Rochon and is the father of 3.


Athlete

Childhood and Family:

Son of a foreman for Heinz and a medical technician, Antoine Fuqua was born on January 19, 1966, in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Although he grew up in a good family, young Antoine lived in a tough neighborhood. After finding dead bodies in the alley, the then-14 year old boy suffered from terrible stress that led to a stroke at age 15. He recovered and emerged as a basketball star at Taylor Allderdice High School. With his talent in the sport, the good pupil won an athletic scholarship to West Virginia University in Morgantown, West Virginia, where he studied electrical engineering with a concentration on electromagnetism and signal processing. After two years, however, he quit and briefly moved back to his hometown of Pittsburgh before heading to New York City to begin a career in directing.

On April 9, 1999, Antoine married actress and former model Lela Rochon (born on April 17, 1964). The couple welcomed their first child, daughter Asia Rochon Fuqua, on July 28, 2002. Their second child, son Brando, was born in May 2004. Antoine also has an older son named Zachary Fuqua from a previous relationship.


Brooklyn's Finest

Career:

After dropping out of college, Antoine Fuqua moved to New York in 1987. While there, he first found work as a production assistant in local productions. While learning filmmaking on the sets, he tried to write for music videos and spent his rent money to make his first short, “Exit.” The film caught the attention of Propaganda Film and before long Fuqua found himself directing music videos and commercials for the successful production company. Some of his numerous commercial credits include Wings for Men, Miller Genuine Draft, Reebok, Toyota, Armani, Big Star Jeans, Stanley Tools, and Sprite. Throughout the early to the mid 1990s, Fuqua directed music videos for artists like Chanté Moore (“Love's Taken Over”), Shanice (“Saving Forever for You”), Toni Braxton (“Another Sad Love Song”), Arrested Development (“United Front”), Prince (“The Most Beautiful Girl in the World”), Ce Ce Peniston (“In the Mood”), Jaki Graham (“Ain't Nobody”), Coolio (“Gangsta’s Paradise”), and Queen Latifah (“Freedom”) and (“For Your Love”).

In 1998, Fuqua made his feature film directorial debut with “The Replacement Killers” (1998), an action drama starring international star Chow Yun-Fat and Mira Sorvino. Written by Ken Sanzel and produced by Bernie Brillstein and Brad Grey, the film received mixed reviews from critics. Made for $28 million, it grossed $8 million during its opening weekend in the U.S. and $19.2 million domestically.

After directing the Usher Raymond music video “Bedtime (Version 2)” (1998) and Pras' “Blue Angels” (1999), Fuqua resurfaced with his sophomore effort, “Bait.” Released on September 15, 2000, the movie starred Jamie Foxx and David Morse and was a box office disappointment. Fuqua's luck changed significantly the following year when he directed Denzel Washington and Ethan Hawke in the drama “Training Day,” which follows two LAPD narcotics detectives over a 24 hour period in the gang neighborhoods of Los Angeles. Written by David Ayer, the film earned generally favorable reviews from film critics and was a triumph at the box office. Released theatrically in the U.S. on October 5, 2001, “Training Day” stayed at the top of the box office for six weeks and grossed over $76 million domestically and $104 worldwide. Under Fuqua's direction, Washington and Hawke gained extensive recognition at several award shows, including the 2002 Academy Awards and the Screen Actors Guild Awards and Denzel Washington won an Oscar for Best Actor in a Leading Role. Fuqua picked up a Black Reel in the category of Theatrical - Best Director.

Two years after the success of “Training Day,” Fuqua directed Bruce Willis, Monica Bellucci, Cole Hauser and Eamonn Walker in the war film “Tears of the Sun” (2003), which was produced through Willis' production company Cheyenne Enterprises. Written by Alex Lasker and Patrick Cirillo, the film met with mixed reviews and was a box office failure. However, it managed to bring the director a 2004 Black Reel nomination for Best Film Director.

2004 saw Fuqua direct the music documentary “Lightning in a Bottle.” The film won a 2005 Black Reel for Best Film, Musical or Comedy and was nominated for a Golden Satellite for Best Motion Picture, Documentary. For his effort, Fuqua received another Black Reel nomination for Best Director. Fuqua then directed Clive Owen, Keira Knightley and Ioan Gruffudd in the historical film “King Arthur” (also 2004), which was produced by Jerry Bruckheimer and scripted by David Franzoni of “Gladiator” fame. The film received mixed reviews, but was a significant hit at the box office.

In 2005, Fuqua worked on television with “Murder Book” (2005), a drama film starring Alexandra Breckenridge and Josh Brolin. The same year, he also served as an executive producer on the documentary “Bastards of the Party.” He then directed the 11 minute horror film “The Call” (2006), which starred John Malkovich and supermodel Naomi Campbell. He did not return to feature films until the following year with the political thriller “Shooter” (2007), which was produced by Lorenzo di Bonaventura. Adapted from Stephen Hunter's novel “Point of Impact,” the film starred Mark Wahlberg. Like most of his films, “Shooter” also received mixed reviews. It collected over $95 million at the box office.

Fuqua's new film, “Brooklyn's Finest” a crime movie starring Richard Gere, Ethan Hawke, Don Cheadle, Ellen Barkin and Wesley Snipes, was screened at the Sundance Film Festival in January 2009 and the Venice Film Festival on September 8, 2009. It will receive a theatrical release on March 10, 2010. In addition to directing, Fuqua also serves as the movie’s executive producer.

Fuqua will next direct an action film about Columbian drug lord Pablo Escobar. The film is set to be released in 2010.


Awards:

  • Black Reel: Theatrical - Best Director, “Training Day,” 2002

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