An admired music video director-turned-movie director, Francis Lawrence has established a strong career since making his debut in the mid-1990s. He has worked for numerous stars such as Britney Spears, Aerosmith, Jennifer Lopez, Destiny’s Child, Sarah McLachlan, Ricky Martin, Janet Jackson, Shakira, Will Smith, Justin Timberlake and Gwen Stefani. He also has been handed several MTV Video Music Awards and earned the 2002 MVPA Director of the Year award as well as a 2002 Latin Grammy Award.
Following in the footsteps of A-List directors like David Fincher and McG, the young flourishing director then made the leap into features. He had his first taste of helming film with the Keanu Reeves vehicle Constantine, a 2005 supernatural thriller which earned commercial success. Lawrence is now signed to DNA Inc. and Academy Productions Ltd. He is directing two 2007 films, Eddie Dickens And The Awful End and I Am Legend.
Childhood and Family:
Born in Vienna, Austria, Francis Lawrence moved to Los Angeles when he was three years old. Growing up in L.A in the 1980s, he was naturally drawn to filmmaking. He wrote screenplays, made Super 8 movies and took high school film classes. After high school, he furthered his filmmaking studies to Loyola Marymount University. In the mid-1990s, Francis started his professional music video directing career by joining a friend who had an independent record label.
I Am Legend
Born in Austria, raised in Los Angeles, Francis Lawrence made his debut as music video director in the mid-1990s with a friend who owned a small record label. His early directions included A Western Front’s “Go” and “The Problem,” AlldaRon West’s “We’ve Got That Kind Of Love” (all 1994), Boyz Of Paradize’s “Shining Star” (1995) and Color Me Badd’s “Sexual Capacity” (1996). Lawrence went to work with artists like Eric Benet, Deborah Cox, Vanessa Williams, Natalie Cole, Aerosmith, Sarah McLachlan, Seal, Jay-Z and Brian McKnight, but the creative genius did not receive huge breakthrough until 1999, when actress Jennifer Lopez, who at the time, was beginning into her very public metamorphosis into the media icon known as J-Lo, became interested in his work and recruited him to helm the music video of song “Waiting For Tonight”/ “Una Noche Mas.”
After the high-profile gig, Lawrence found himself working with the boggets superstars in music such as Lauryn Hill in “Turn Your Lights Down Low,” Ricky Martin in “Private Emotion” (2000), Destiny’s Child in “Independent Woman Part. I” (2000) and “Emotion” (2001), Backstreet Boys in “The Call” (2001), Janet Jackson in “Someone To Call My Lover” (2001), Britney Spears in “I’m A Slave 4 U” (2001), Alanis Morissette in “Precious Illusions” (2002) and Will Smith in “Black Suits Comin’ (Nod Ya Head).” His bright direction in Shakira’s in “Whenever, Wherever / Suerte” (2001) even won the music video director a Latin Grammy in 2002. The same year, Lawrence also took home a MVPA for Director of the Year.
Along the way, Lawrence has helmed television commercials as well, for clients such as Coca Cola, CoverGirl, McDonald’s, Oldsmobile, Pepsi Cola, Foot Locker, Bacardi, Bud Light and Disneyland. His popularity as music video director continued to rise when he teamed up with singers like Avril Lavigne, Justin Timberlake and Gwen Stefani. By 2004, the multi-award winning director had acquired a reputable track record and a well-merited status as one of the most visually gifted video directors around.
With such impressive accomplishment, Lawrence finally could segue into film industry. In 2005, he made his debut as movie director with Constantine, a supernatural thriller with religious nuances and a dash of film noir based on the DC Comics/Vertigo Graphic Novels Hellblazer. Starring Keanu Reeves as the eponymous paranormal investigator, John Constantine, the film suffered from debatable casting and an incoherent plotline. On a more positive note, Constantine was a commercially successful for the rookie director, grossing over $75 million nationally. In the meantime, Lawrence continued helming music videos, like Jennifer Lopez’s “Get Right” and Audioslave’s “Be Yourself.”
Lawrence is now directing two films scheduled for the late of 2007 release. The first is I Am Legend, an action/ sci-fi based on a book by Richard Matheson and starring Will Smith, and the next is the animated family drama Eddie Dickens and the Awful End.