PROFILE
Name:
Robert Luketic
Birth Place:
Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
Nationality:
Australian
BIOGRAPHY
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Legally Blonde Director

Background:

"I’m unashamedly a commercial filmmaker and I was looking for a breakthrough film. Not that I expected it to be a $100 million breakthrough! And now I’m being allowed to read scripts that I wasn’t before. Big budget films..." Robert Luketic.

Australian director Robert Luketic showed his talent in film-making at age 15 when his film won Best Film Award at the ATOM Film Festival. After sharpening his craft at Australia's prestigious film school Victorian College of Arts – School of Film and Television (VCA), he made an award-winning short film called "Titsiana Booberini" (1997), which was screened at Sundance.

He subsequently made his feature film directing debut with the smash hit comedy "Legally Blonde" (2001), starring Reese Witherspoon. He went on to direct Kate Bosworth, Topher Grace, and Josh Duhamel in "Win a Date with Tad Hamilton!" (2004) and Jane Fonda and Jennifer Lopez in "Monster-in-Law" (2005). His latest film, "21," a fact-based drama about the MIT Blackjack Team, hit theaters on March 28, 2008. It stars Jim Sturgess, Kevin Spacey, Kate Bosworth, and Laurence Fishburne.

Luketic is now directing his upcoming film, "The Ugly Truth," another romantic comedy, this time starring Katherine Heigl and Gerald Butler.


Australian with Italian-Croatian Mix

Childhood and Family:

Son to an Italian mother and Croatian father, Robert Luketic was born in Sydney, New South Wales, Australia, in 1973. The eldest of two children, he has a younger sister, Marie Luketic.

After winning his first award for Best Film Award at the ATOM Film Festival at the age of 15, young Luketic went on to hone in on his craft at one of Australia's most prestigious film schools, the Victorian College of Arts – School of Film and Television (VCA) in Melbourne.

Luketic now lives in Los Angeles.


21

Career:

At the tender age of 15, Robert Luketic has shown his first award for Best Film at the ATOM Film Festival, and continued to sharpen his skills at one of Australia's most prestigious film schools, the Victorian College of Arts – School of Film and Television (VCA) in Melbourne.

At age 23, the aspiring filmmaker came to Hollywood's eyes for his award-winning short 11-minute comedy film which follows a dispirited check-out girl with slightly hirsute upper lip, "Titsiana Booberini" (1997), starring Tania Lacy. Screened on opening night at New York, Colorado, Telluride, and Robert Redford's world famous Sundance, the film became a success story at film festivals around the world, including in Aspen and Santa Barbara. It won Luketic Best Student Comedy Award at the Aspen Shortsfest.

In 2001, Luketic made his feature film directing debut with "Legally Blonde," a comedy based on the novel of the same name by Amanda Brown about a typical pampered valley girl's quest to be regarded seriously at Harvard Law School and to win back her boyfriend. It stars Reese Witherspoon and was produced by Marc E. Platt for Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer studios.

The film was a huge success both critically and commercially. It was nominated a Golden Globe Award for Best Motion Picture - Musical or Comedy, where Witherspoon was also nominated for Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture - Musical or Comedy. Additionally, it was nominated Best Comedy Film at the British Comedy Awards, Best Movie at the MTV Movie Awards, Film - Choice Movie of the Summer at the Teen Choice Awards, and Best Family Feature Film - Comedy at the Young Artist Awards.

"I knew on page five of the script that I wanted Reese [Witherspoon] to play Elle. We met at a hotel on Sunset Boulevrad and discussed the film... We were both concerned about some aspects, like how can the audience feel sorry for a rich girl driving a Porsche; and she had to dress in a very particular way that wasn’t distracting or off-putting… And every decision came from a certain innocence [of the character]." Robert Luketic.

Ranked at number 29 on Bravo's "100 Funniest Movies," "Legally Blonde" has spawned a 2003 sequel, "Legally Blonde 2: Red, White and Blonde," as well as an upcoming 2008 direct-to-DVD threequel, "Legally Blondes." It was also adapted into a musical on Broadway in 2007 that stars Laura Bell Bundy.

2004 saw the release of Luketic's next effort, "Win a Date with Tad Hamilton!," a romantic comedy film about a small-town girl wins a date with Hollywood's hottest movie star through a contest. Starring Kate Bosworth, Topher Grace, and Josh Duhamel, the film received mixed reviews from critics and is considered to be a flop, opening with a low 9 million at the box-office. However it managed to scoop up a Choice Movie - Date Movie nomination at the Teen Choice Awards.

In the following year, Luketic directed Jane Fonda and Jennifer Lopez in "Monster-in-Law" (2005), a romantic comedy film about a recently fired news anchor and a doting, overly-possessive mother with a nervous breakdown who is afraid of losing her son too much that she plots a despicable plan to call off her son wedding. The $43-million movie, which marks a return to cinema for Fonda (it's her first film in 15 years), was generally panned by critics, but became a box-office success. It was nominated Best Comedy at the Golden Trailer Awards and Choice Date Movie at the Teen Choice Awards.

"When I heard that it was Fonda and Jennifer Lopez, I was already hooked. It hardly mattered about the script… with Fonda, I could make a movie about green bags... She [Lopez] was nothing like the image that is bandied about. I could tell she would work hard and we agreed it had to be fun... Jane Fonda is like method acting. She goes into a corner and does this stuff. Jennifer Lopez is quite the opposite. But it worked - and they were both great to work with." Robert Luketic.

Luketic then directed the pilot of legal dramedy TV series "Women in Law" (2006).

Recently, in 2008, he returned to the director's chair helming "21," a fact-based drama film for Columbia Pictures about the MIT Blackjack Team, who were trained to become experts in card counting and subsequently took Vegas casinos for millions in winnings. The film that is based on the best-selling book by Ben Mezrich, "Bringing Down the House," won ShoWest Convention's Special Award for Best Ensemble for stars Jim Sturgess, Kevin Spacey, Kate Bosworth, Laurence Fishburne, Aaron Yoo, Liza Lapira, Jacob Pitts, and Josh Gad.

Luketic is currently on the set directing his upcoming film, "The Ugly Truth," another romantic comedy, this time starring Katherine Heigl as a morning show producer reluctantly tested by her chauvinistic correspondent (played by Gerald Butler) to find true love.


Awards:

  • Young Hollywood: Class Act (Hottest Young Filmmaker), 2002

  • Aspen Shortsfest: Comedy - Best Student Comedy, "Titsiana Booberini," 1998

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