“I think one of the privileges of being a filmmaker is the opportunity to remain a kind of perpetual student.” Edward Zwick
Filmmaker Edward Zwick recently topped the box office charts with his thriller Blood Diamond (2006), featuring Leonardo DiCaprio and Djimon Hounsou. Previously, he also made a name for himself with the Tom Cruise-starring The Last Samurai (2003).
Zwick, who formed the Bedford Falls Company with longtime partner Marshall Herskovitz, has produced such notable screen projects as the drama series “Family,” “thirtysomething” (1987), Legends of the Fall (1994), Shakespeare in Love (1998), “Once and Again” (1999), Traffic (2000) and I Am Sam (2001). He has won an Academy Award and three Emmy Awards, as well as received additional nominations for an Academy Award and six Emmy Awards. Zwick is known to frequently cast Denzel Washington in his films.
High School Passion
Childhood and Family:
Born on October 8, 1952, in Chicago, Illinois, Edward Zwick graduated with a B.A. in Literature from Harvard University in 1974. A year later, he earned his Master’s Degree at the American Film Institute Conservatory.
These accomplishments were initiated by Edward’s passion for directing and acting while he was in high school. He later acquired an apprenticeship at the Academy Festival in Lake Forest, Illinois. To support his writing talent, Edward became an editor and feature writer for “The New Republic” and “Rolling Stone” magazines while in college.
The moviemaker is the brother of Joel Zwick and the uncle of Hillary Zwick. He is married to Liberty Godshall.
As a student of AFI, Edward Zwick won the 1976 Chicago Film Festival’s student film competition thanks to his short film Timothy and the Angel (1976). It apparently brought him to the story editor slot for the ABC drama series “Family.” Later, he served as the writer, director and producer for the series and earned an Emmy’s Best Drama Series nomination. After “Family” ended in 1980, Zwick helmed two ABC movies, Having It All (1982) and Paper Dolls (1982).
Zwick quickly turned critics’ heads with his first collaboration with screenwriter Marshall Herskovitz in the TV drama Special Bulletin (1983). Chronicling the kidnapping of a TV reporter and cameraman while they were covering a workers strike, Special Bulletin immediately collected two Emmys, a Directors Guild of America award, a Writers Guild of America award and a Humanitas Prize. In addition, Zwick received another Emmy nomination.
After making a movie debut in About Last Night (1986), Zwick created, wrote, directed and produced (with Marshall Herskovitz) the series “thirtysomething” (1987). Airing on ABC, the drama centered on the daily life of married couples in their thirties. Zwick’s effort in the show was handed an Emmy and a Writers Guild of America award, as well as four Emmy nominations.
Zwick also executive produced the “Sawdust” episode of “CBS Summer Playhouse” (1987) and directed his second feature titled Glory (1989), starring Denzel Washington, Matthew Broderick and Morgan Freeman. The Civil War-set drama movie eventually brought Zwick a Kansas City Film Critics Circle award and a Golden Globe nomination for Best Director.
Following his directing attempt in Leaving Normal (1992), Zwick received a Western Heritage’s Bronze Wrangler and a Golden Globe nomination for the film Legends of the Fall (1994, directed and produced). He was then involved in “My So-Called Life” (1994), the short-lived “Relativity” (1996, directed and produced), as well as the Denzel Washington-starring Courage Under Fire (1996, won a Lone Star Film & Television award) and The Siege (1998).
As a producer of the romantic movie Shakespeare in Love (1998), Zwick shared an Oscar, a BAFTA Film and a Golden Satellite Best Picture award, as well as earned a PGA Golden Laurel nomination for Producer of the Year. He also took home a second Humanitas Prize after co-creating and co-executive producing the ABC drama series “Once and Again” (1999), along with Herskovitz. In the series, Zwick also did episodic directing, writing and an acting performance (as Dr. Daniel Rosenfeld).
The producer was next nominated for an Oscar after taking part in the award-winning film Traffic (2000) and won a Golden Laurel’s Stanley Kramer award for his effort in Sean Penn’s vehicle I Am Sam (2001). He also penned the special TV program America: A Tribute to Heroes (2001) and became the moderator in the self-produced Women vs. Men (2002, TV).
In 2003, Zwick worked with actor Tom Cruise in the epic picture The Last Samurai and was garnered a National Board of Review for Best Director. For the same film, he also earned a PGA Golden Laurel and a Saturn nomination. Two years later, he helmed 1/4life (2005, TV).
Recently, Zwick directed Leonardo DiCaprio, Jennifer Connelly and Djimon Hounsou in the thriller Blood Diamond (2006). On his project, Zwick commented, “‘Conflict diamonds’ are stones that have been smuggled out of countries at war. They then go to pay for more arms, increasing the death toll and furthering the destruction of the region … In the late 1990s, people from such NGOs as Global Witness, Partnership Africa-Canada, and Amnesty International gave them a name in order to help bring the crisis into the public consciousness. They called them ‘blood diamonds.’”
Zwick is the executive producer of an untitled Kip Williams project, which is scheduled for release in 2007. He will also direct and produced the upcoming The Lions of Al-Rassan (2008).