Paul Greengrass Biography

Paul Greengrass photo

Born: August 13, 1955


Date of Birth: August 13, 1955

Born in England, Paul Greengrass first became interested in filmmaking when he and a friend used their school's Super 8 camera to make an animated horror film using old dolls and artist dummies. The experience brought him to the realization that he wanted to pursue a career in filmmaking.

After graduating from school, he was hired by Granada Television, one of the largest independent television companies in the United Kingdom. He spent ten years working on a documentary series called World in Action.

Eager to venture into drama, Greengrass took on his first feature film, Resurrected (1989), starring David Thewlis as a British soldier left behind in the Falklands after the war with Argentina. The film won the Otto Dibelius Film Award and the OCIC Award at the Berlin International Film Festival.

While writing his first script, Greengrass returned to television, directing the TV movies Open Fire, The One That Got Away and finally, his own screenplay, The Fix, based on the true story of a soccer star, played by Jason Isaacs, who's persuaded to fix games.

His next screenplay was based on a true life story as well. The Murder of Stephen Lawrence was about a 1993 murder in which a gang of white youths attacked and stabbed a black boy waiting at a bus stop. Despite there having been a witness, they were later acquitted due to the lack of a murder weapon and forensic evidence, causing a public outcry. The drama won a BAFTA TV Award as "Best Single Drama" in 2000, as well as the Special Jury Prize at the 2000 Banff Television Festival.

In 2002, Greengrass gained worldwide attention with his feature film, Bloody Sunday, which depicted the events of January 30, 1972, when British soldiers killed 13 people attending a Catholic civil rights demonstration in Londonderry. The film won awards around the world, including the Berlin International Film Festival's Golden Bear, and went on to play in American theaters. Greengrass won Best Director awards from the British Independent Film Awards and the Irish Film and Television awards, and a Best Writer award from the Royal Television Society.

Not long after, Greengrass signed on to make his first big budget U.S. flick, The Bourne Supremacy (2004), starring Matt Damon. However, it was United 93 (2006), depicting the events of September 11, 2001 on board the hijacked United Flight 93, that earned Frears his first Academy Award nomination. His most recent film is Captain Phillips(2013), an examination of the 2009 hijacking of the U.S. container ship Maersk Alabama.

Greengrass' most recent films include Green Zone (2010), Captain Phillips (2013), and Jason Bourne (2016).

Greengrass divides his time between London and Hollywood.

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