The Crying Game
“The only reason I ever want to make movies is if there are characters that find bits of themselves that they didn't understand. I don't believe we are fully rational beings. I don't believe that any explanation that we ever give for our behavior is adequate.” Neil Jordan
Academy Award winning Irish filmmaker Neil Jordan first came to fame in Ireland as a successful fiction writer. He made his debut as a screenwriter and director with “Angel” (1982) and gained international recognition thanks to “The Company of Wolves” (1984), from which he picked up two Sitges - Catalonian International Film Festival Awards, a Fantafestival Award, three Fantasforto Awards, a London Critics Circle Film Award and an Avoriaz Fantastic Film Festival Award. Jordan's real success came with “Mona Lisa” (1986), starring Bob Hoskins, when he nabbed a Golden Palm nomination at the 1986 Cannes Film Festival and nominations at the Golden Globes, Writers Guild of America and BAFTA Awards for his direction and screenplay. Jordan made his Hollywood debut with the ill fated comedy “High Spirits” (1988) and after another flop, “We're No Angels” (1989), he returned to Irish cinema and scored a revival with “The Miracle” (1991), from which he picked up a Golden Berlin Bear nomination and an Evening Standard British Film Award for his effort. His biggest victory came with the critically acclaimed thriller “The Crying Game” (1992) when he received an Oscar for his screenplay. He was also nominated for an Oscar for his direction. Other honors he received for the film included a BAFTA Award, an Independent Spirit Award, two London Critics Circle Film Awards, a Writers Guild of America Award and an Evening Standard British Film Award. He has since directed and/or written “Interview with the Vampire: The Vampire Chronicles” (1994), “Michael Collins” (1996), “The Butcher Boy” (1997), “The End of the Affair” (1999, earned a Golden Globe nomination and BAFTA nominations), “In Dreams” (1999), “The Good Thief” (2002), “Breakfast on Pluto” (2005, netted two IFTA Awards), “The Brave One” (2007) and “Ondine” (2009). Jordan has also published an award winning collection of short stories titled “Night in Tunisia” (1976) and a string of acclaimed novels, including “The Past” (1980), “The Dream of a Beast” (1983), “Sunrise with Sea Monster” (1994) and “Shade” (2005).
Childhood and Family:
“I grew up in a respectable, lower-middle class home. Our family was quite educated; my mother was a painter and stuff like that and I didn't chop up my next door neighbor. But I remember those emotions. It was a very strange world. Ireland is very grey and it seems like nothing has changed for centuries. The only bits of color were in churches with statues and gaudy religious vestments. It was a very insanely Catholic country and you have an educational system run by celibate men in skirts, which is bizarre in itself. But, there's just a sweet irrationality to the whole place.” Neil Jordan (about growing up in Ireland)
On February 25, 1950, in Sligo, Ireland, Neil Patrick Jordan was born to a university professor named Michael Jordan (died in 1984) and a painter named Angela. He attended St. Paul's School in Dublin and in 1972 earned a degree in English literature and Irish history from the University College, National University of Ireland, in Dublin. He began writing short stories when he was a teenager. He also played the saxophone and guitar in an Irish rock band when he was younger.
Neil has been married twice. He and first wife Vivienne Shields share two daughters, Anna and Sarah. After the marriage ended, he began living with a Canadian named Brenda Rawn in 1988. They eventually married on June 30, 2004, and have two children together, Daniel and Dashiel. Neil also has a son named Ben Jordan (born in 1990) from a previous relationship with architect Mary Donohoe.
Neil Jordan launched a career as a fiction writer in Ireland. In 1976, he released a successful collection of short stories titled “Night in Tunisia” and won the Guardian Fiction Prize for the book. Also in 1976, the cofounder of the Irish Writers Co-operative received a grant from the British Arts Council. Three years later, Jordan made his television writing debut with “Miracles & Miss Langan,” directed by Pat O'Connor. He went on to write two more plays for Irish television, one of which titled “Night of Tunisia,” was based on his short stories of the same name. It was filmed by Pat O' Connor in 1983 and broadcasted as part of PBS' “Channel Crossings” in 1993.
A former laborer in London, Jordan published his first novel, “The Past,” in 1980. During this time, he also helped establish a theater company in Ireland, for which he also wrote. His first taste with features came when he was recruited as a creative associate for the Academy Award nominated movie “Excalibur,” by London filmmaker John Boorman. He followed it up by making his screenwriting debut with the Irish film “Traveler” (1981), helmed by Joe Comerford. The film won a Special Mention at the 1982 Locarno International Film Festival in Switzerland.
Jordan made his film directorial debut with “Angel,” which he also wrote. His second movie, “The Company of Wolves” (1984), an adaptation of Angele Carter's short story collection “The Bloody Chamber,” received primarily positive reviews from critics and brought Jordan several awards, including a Caixa de Catalunya for Best Film and Prize of the International Critics' Jury at the 1984 Sitges - Catalonian International Film Festival. It premiered at the Cannes Film Festival on September 15, 1984, and was released theatrically in the U.K. on September 21, 1984, and in the U.S. on April 14, 1985. The horror film, starring Sarah Patterson, Angela Lansbury, Stephen Rea and David Warner, marked Jordan's first collaboration with producer Stephen Woolley. In between “Angel” and “The Company of Wolves,” Jordan released his novel “The Dream of a Beast” in 1983.
After receiving international recognition with “The Company of Wolves,” Jordan experienced breakthrough success with “Mona Lisa” (1986), which he directed and co-wrote with David Leland. The British drama starring Bob Hoskins, Cathy Tyson and Michael Caine, garnered favorable reviews and was nominated for an Oscar for Best Actor in a Leading Role (Hoskins). Jordan took home a Golden Globe nomination for Best Screenplay - Motion Picture, BAFTA nominations for Best Direction, Best Screenplay - Original and Best Film, a Golden Palm nomination at the 1986 Cannes Film Festival, the Golden Spike Award at the 1986 Valladolid International Film Festival and a Writers Guild of America nomination for Best Screenplay Written Directly for the Screen. With his success with “Mona Lisa,” Jordan was confirmed as a rising talent in international cinema and quickly hit the Hollywood scene with the comedy “High Spirits” (1988), which he wrote and directed. Starring Peter O'Toole, Steve Guttenberg, Beverly D'Angelo, Daryl Hannah, Liam Neeson, Jennifer Tilly and John Nee, the film was a commercial flop. He scored another dud with the David Mamet written remake “We're No Angels” (1989), starring Robert De Niro, Sean Penn and Demi Moore. Also in 1988, Jordan made his producing debut as co-executive producer on the Irish made “The Courier,” directed by Frank Deasy and Joe Lee.
Jordan left Hollywood in 1989 and the following year, contributed the segments “Miss Otis Regrets” and “Just One Of Those Things” to “Red, Hot and Blue” (ABC), a televised variety salute to the music of Cole Porter that also promoted AIDS awareness. He returned to British cinema when he directed Beverly D'Angelo, Donal McCann and Niall Byrne in the drama “The Miracle,” adapted from his story “Night in Tunisia.” He was handed a Golden Berlin Bear nomination at the 1991 Berlin International Film Festival and a 1992 Evening Standard British Film for Best Screenplay for his work on the film.
Jordan was put back in the international spotlight with his subsequent movie, “The Crying Game” (1992), a British/Irish thriller starring Stephen Rea, Jaye Davidson, Miranda Richardson, Forest Whitaker, Tony Slattery and Jim Broadbent. The movie received critical praise and was nominated for six Oscars, including Best Picture, Best Actor in a Leading Role (Rea), Best Actor in a Supporting Role (Davidson), Best Film Editing and Best Director. The director/writer won the Oscar in the category of Best Writing, Screenplay Written Directly for the Screen. He also nabbed the Alexander Korda Award for Best British Film and nominations for Best Direction, Best Screenplay - Original and Best Film at the 1993 BAFTA Awards, a Writers Guild of America for Best Screenplay Written Directly for the Screen, an Independent Spirit for Best Foreign Film, and an ALFS Awards for British Director of the Year, to name a few awards and nominations. “The Crying Game” became a sleeper hit in America with nearly $60 million in earnings, despite suffering box office failure upon its original releases in Ireland and the U.K.
In 1994, Jordan returned to Hollywood when he directed Tom Cruise, Brad Pitt, Kirsten Dunst, Antonio Banderas, Christian Slater and Stephen Rea in “Interview with the Vampire: The Vampire Chronicles,” which was based on the book “Interview with the Vampire” by Anne Rice, who also wrote the screenplay. The movie was a moderate success at the box office and Jordan was nominated for a Saturn Award for his directing. The same year, Jordan also released his third novel, “Sunrise with Sea Monster.”
Two years later, Jordan wrote and directed the Irish historical biopic “Michael Collins” (1996), which was about General Michael Collins, the founder of the IRA. The film, starring Liam Neeson, earned generally positive reviews and was a huge commercial hit in Ireland and earned Jordan the Golden Lion at the 1996 Venice Film Festival. It was also nominated for Oscars for Best Cinematography and Best Music, Original Dramatic Score, among other honors.
Next up for Jordan, he executive produced, directed and co-wrote “The Butcher Boy” (1997), based on the novel of the same name by Patrick McCabe. For his effort, Jordan was handed the Silver Berlin Bear for Best Director and a Chicago Film Critics Association nomination for Best Director. In 1999, Jordan directed, produced and adapted the remake of Graham Greene's novel “The End of the Affair,” starring Ralph Fiennes, Julianne Moore and Stephen Rea, co-scripted and directed the psychological thriller “In Dreams,” starring Annette Bening, Katie Sagona, Aidan Quinn, Robert Downey, Jr., Paul Guilfoyle and Stephen Rea, and executive produced the dramatic film “The Last September,” for director Deborah Warner. He netted a BAFTA for Best Screenplay - Adapted, and the David Lean Award for Direction, to name a few awards and nominations, for his efforts.
Entering the new millennium, Jordan directed the 14 minute film “Not I” (2000), starring Julianne Moore and written by Samuel Beckett, and embraced theater when he directed his one man show “White Horses” (2001) at the Gate Theater in Dublin. In 2002, he directed Nick Nolte, Emir Kusturica and Nutsa Kukhianidze in the thriller “The Good Thief,” a remake of the 1955 popular French film “Bob le flambeur” by Jean-Pierre Melville. The film brought Jordan the Golden Seashell nomination at the 2002 San Sebastián International Film Festival.
After contributing story to Conor McPherson's award winning movie “The Actors” (2003), Jordan returned to the director's chair when he helmed Cillian Murphy, Stephen Rea, Brendan Gleeson and Liam Neeson in the Irish dramatic comedy “Breakfast on Pluto” (2005), which he adapted with Pat McCabe from McCabe's novel of the same name and produced. Also in 2005, he released the novel “Shade.”
In 2007, Jordan directed the Hollywood psychological thriller “The Brave One,” starring Jodie Foster, Terrence Howard, Naveen Andrews, Mary Steenburgen, Jane Adams, Nicky Katt, Zoe Kravitz and Dana Eskelson. Under his direction, Foster earned a Golden Globe nomination for her performance as radio show host Erica Bain. He then wrote and directed the fantasy drama “Ondine” (2009), starring Colin Farrell and Alicja Bachleda. The film was nominated for eight IFTA Awards, including Best Director for Film, Best Film and Best Script for Film (all for Jordan) and Best Actor in a Lead Role in a Film (for Farrell).
Jordan is scheduled to work as director and writer on the upcoming television series “The Borgias” (2011). He is also set to direct and script the film adaptation of Joe Hill's “Heart-Shaped Box” and will do the same duty for the big screen version of Neil Gaiman's “The Graveyard Book.”
Irish Film and Television Award (IFTA): Best Director, “Breakfast on Pluto,” 2007
Irish Film and Television Award (IFTA): Best Script for Film, “Breakfast on Pluto,” 2007
Ljubljana International Film Festival: Audience Award, “Breakfast on Pluto,” 2006
Irish Film and Television Award (IFTA): Lifetime Achievement Award, 2003
Camerimage: Special Award, Film Direction with a Special Visual Sensitivity, 2002
Evening Standard British Film: Best Screenplay, “The End of the Affair,” 2001
BAFTA: Best Screenplay - Adapted, “The End of the Affair,” 2000
Brussels International Festival of Fantasy Film: Silver Raven, “In Dreams,” 1999
Berlin International Film Festival: Silver Berlin Bear, Best Director, “The Butcher Boy,” 1998
Brussels International Film Festival: Crystal Iris, 1998
Venice Film Festival: Golden Lion, “Michael Collins,” 1996
Oscar: Best Writing, Screenplay Written Directly for the Screen, “The Crying Game,” 1993
Amanda: Best Foreign Feature Film (Årets utenlandske spillefilm), “The Crying Game,” 1993
BAFTA: Alexander Korda Award, Best British Film, “The Crying Game,” 1993
Independent Spirit: Best Foreign Film, “The Crying Game,” 1993
London Critics Circle Film (ALFS): British Director of the Year, “The Crying Game,” 1993
London Critics Circle Film (ALFS): British Screenwriter of the Year, “The Crying Game,” 1993
Writers Guild of America (WGA): Best Screenplay Written Directly for the Screen, “The Crying Game,” 1993
Writers' Guild of Great Britain: Film - Screenplay, “The Crying Game,” 1993
Evening Standard British Film: Best Screenplay, “The Miracle,” 1992
Los Angeles Film Critics Association (LAFCA): Best Foreign Film, “The Crying Game,” 1992
New York Film Critics Circle (NYFCC): Best Screenplay, “The Crying Game,” 1992
Valladolid International Film Festival: Golden Spike, “Mona Lisa,” 1986
Avoriaz Fantastic Film Festival: Special Jury Award, “The Company of Wolves,” 1985
Fantafestival: Special Mention, “The Company of Wolves,” 1985
Fantasporto: Audience Jury Award, “The Company of Wolves,” 1985
Fantasporto: Critics' Award, “The Company of Wolves,” 1985
Fantasporto: International Fantasy Film Award, Best Film, “The Company of Wolves,” 1985
London Critics Circle Film (ALFS): Director of the Year, “The Company of Wolves,” 1985
Evening Standard British Film: Most Promising Newcomer, 1984
Sitges - Catalonian International Film Festival: Caixa de Catalunya, Best Film, “The Company of Wolves,” 1984
Sitges - Catalonian International Film Festival: Prize of the International Critics' Jury, “The Company of Wolves,” 1984