Born: July 19, 1961
Date of Birth: July 19, 1961
Born in Okayama, Japan, Hideo Nakata moved away from his home in the country to attend the University of Tokyo, where he studied physics and journalism. This relocation also provided him with access and opportunity to watch about 300 films per year as well as obtain numerous odd jobs on movie sets, sparking his interest in filmmaking. Upon graduating, he became an assistant director at Nikkatsu Studios; he worked there for seven years under the mentorship of Masaru Konuma, who provided Nakata with his film education.
In 1992, he made his directorial debut with the made-for-TV God's Hand. This project also paired him with Hiroshi Takahashi, who would later write Ringu (1999). Nakata moved to the UK in 1993 but moved back to Japan a year and a half later. In 1996, he directed his first feature film, Ghost Actress (1996). Nakata incorporated many of the supernatural elements into this film that he would become best known for later.
Suzuki Koji, the so-called "Stephen King" of Japan, was interested in adapting his novel, Ringu, for film. Impressed by Ghost Actress, Koji approached Nakata. The team of Nakata and Takahashi would create a film that changed the face of Japanese horror cinema. Ringu (1998) spawned a television series and two sequels as well as an American remake within just four years of its release. Ringu won the 1999 Brussels International Festival of Fantasy Film's Golden Raven; Best Film at the 1999 Catalonian International Film Festival; Best Asian Film at the 1999 Fant-Asia Film Festival; and the 2001 NatFilm Festival Audience Award. It also ignited a trend now referred to as "J-Horror," which emphasizes an overwhelming sense of dread and distrust of technology while avoiding the familiar horror pratfalls of gore, overuse of computer-generated graphics, and hokey self-references.
Not wanting to be pigeonholed in the horror genre, after directing Ringu 2 (1999), Nakata utilized his skills for suspense in the crime drama Chaos (1999), which was another hit for the filmmaker. After making a documentary about his mentor, Konuma, entitled Sadistic and Masochistic (2000), Nakata returned to his roots with the menacing supernatural horror Dark Water (2002), based on another novel by Koji. It won the 2002 Brussels International Festival Fantasy Film Silver Raven; a Special Mention at the 2002 Catalonian International Film Festival; as well as the Grand Prize and International Critics Award at the 2003 Gérardmer Film Festival. An American remake starring Jennifer Connelly and directed by Walter Salles was released in 2005.
Nakata made his American directorial debut with the sequel to The Ring Two (2005). In directing the American sequel, Nakata chose not to use an interpreter because he feared something could become lost in translation. He also believed that talented actors such as Naomi Watts, Sissy Spacek and Simon Baker would understand his direction.
Nakata is currently in development on several upcoming features, including a crime thriller entitled Out and a remake of the paranormal horror film, The Entity.