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Jan De Bont

Jan De Bont is a total filmmaker in the European tradition. As a film student in Holland, he much admired the epics, westerns and war movies coming out of Hollywood and their special way of combining emotion with action that helped the audience become a full participant. He demonstrated the same technique when he made his American directing debut 20 years later, in 1994, with Speed, which launched the film career of Sandra Bullock.

Two years later De Bont's film Twister opened to a record-breaking $41.2 million in its first weekend, going on to gross worldwide in excess of $600 million. De Bont followed with Speed 2: Cruise Control in 1997 and The Haunting in 1999.

De Bont's company Blue Tulip Productions was formed in 1996 and co-produced the science-fiction thriller Minority Report starring Tom Cruise and directed by Steven Spielberg. Blue Tulip has a wide range of projects with various studios, including Fox, Warner Bros., Paramount, Universal and MGM.

De Bont was born in Eindhoven, Holland and began making 9mm films at the age of 10. He moved onto 16mm while still in high school. At the National Film Academy in Amsterdam, he saw Stanley Kubrick's Paths of Glory and became an unconditional admirer of the director's visual style. De Bont became a charter member of the Dutch New Wave, traveling frequently to Paris to see movies and exchange ideas with directors, like Jean-Luc Godard, who were an inspiration to young filmmakers all over Europe.

Becoming (of necessity) the master of all aspects of the filmmaking process -- from camera and sound to production design and editing -- De Bont began making documentaries professionally while still in film school, and after graduating he founded his own production company. Later, he acquired considerable experience working with actors, directing the popular German comedy series Express, for which he re-staged sketches from Monty Python's Flying Circus, the cutting edge British series.

De Bont became a cinematographer of renown in Europe where he worked with Paul Verhoeven, among others. He quickly became one of the most sought-after cinematographers in America. He is known for his amazing camera work on such films as Black Rain directed by Ridley Scott, Die Hard directed by John McTiernan, Flatliners directed by Joel Schumacher, Lethal Weapon 3 directed by Richard Donner and Paul Verhoeven's Basic Instinct, among others.

A great supporter of women as action heroes, De Bont helped launch Helen Hunt's movie career and also Sandra Bullock's. Now he takes up the Tomb Raider mantle to work with another female action hero, Angelina Jolie.

De Bont lives in Los Angeles with his wife and two children.

Note: This profile was written in or before 2003.

Jan De Bont Facts

OccupationDirector, Producer
BirthdayOctober 22, 1943 (79)
BirthplaceEindhoven, Netherlands

Selected Filmography

Speed 2: Cruise Control
The Haunting
Lara Croft: The Cradle of Life
4 Film Favorites: Survival
Speed 2
Lara Croft: Tomb Raider
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