Joel T. Schumacher

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Joel T. Schumacher

Death: June 22, 2020 (80)
Immediate Family:

Son of Francis W. Schumacher and Marian Schumacher

Managed by: Randy Schoenberg
Last Updated:
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Immediate Family

About Joel T. Schumacher

Joel T. Schumacher (born August 29, 1939) is an American film director, screenwriter, and producer.

Some notable films he has directed include

  • The Incredible Shrinking Woman (1981),
  • St. Elmo's Fire (1985),
  • The Lost Boys (1987),
  • Cousins (1989),
  • Falling Down (1993),
  • The Client (1994),
  • Batman Forever (1995),
  • A Time to Kill (1996),
  • Batman & Robin (1997),
  • Flawless (1999),
  • Phone Booth (2003),
  • Veronica Guerin (2003),
  • The Phantom of the Opera (2004) and
  • The Number 23 (2007).

Before he launched his career as a director, Schumacher also wrote the screenplay adaptation of The Wiz (1978).

Schumacher was born in New York City, the son of Marian (née Kantor) and Francis Schumacher. His mother was a Swedish Jew, and his father was a Baptist from Knoxville, Tennessee, who died when Joel was four years old.Schumacher studied at Parsons The New School for Design and The Fashion Institute of Technology in New York.After first working in the fashion industry, he realized his true love was in filmmaking. He moved out to Los Angeles, where he began his media work as a costume designer in films such as Woody Allen's Sleeper and Interiors and developed his skills with television work while earning an MFA from UCLA.

Schumacher's first screenplay was for the musical drama Sparkle in 1976, which Schumacher had developed with Howard Rosenman before moving to Los Angeles. He also wrote the screenplays for the 1976 low-budget hit movie Car Wash, 1978's The Wiz - an adaptation of the stage play of the same name - and a number of other minor successes. His film directorial debut was The Incredible Shrinking Woman in 1981, which starred Lily Tomlin.

The Brat Pack films St. Elmo's Fire and The Lost Boys were two of Schumacher's biggest hits. Their style impressed audiences and their financial success allowed studios to trust him with ever larger projects. He states in the director's commentary for St. Elmo's Fire that he resents the "Brat Pack" label, as he feels it misrepresents the group.

Schumacher has directed two adaptations of John Grisham novels: The Client (1994) and A Time to Kill (1996). Grisham personally requested that Schumacher return to direct A Time to Kill.[citation needed]

He directed Batman Forever (1995), replacing Michael Keaton with Val Kilmer; the film scored the highest-grossing opening weekend of 1995, and finished as the second highest-grossing film of the year.

Inspired by this success, Warner Bros. hired Schumacher to direct a sequel, Batman & Robin, in 1997. The film was a critical and box office failure, however; soon after its release, Warner Bros. put the Batman movie series on hiatus, canceling Schumacher's next planned Batman movie, Batman Triumphant. On the DVD commentary, Schumacher has admitted that his movie disappointed fans of darker Batman adaptations, saying that the film was made intentionally marketable (or "toyetic") and kid-friendly. He claims to have been under heavy pressure from the studio to do so; however, he admits full responsibility and, at one point, apologizes to any fans who were disappointed. Schumacher is a devoted Batman fan himself, and has said he would have personally preferred an adaptation of the comic Batman: Year One.[4]

Schumacher also served as the director for the music videos of two songs appearing in the franchise: "Kiss from a Rose", by Seal, and "The End Is the Beginning Is the End", by The Smashing Pumpkins (co-directed with Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris).

Post-Batman career[edit] After back-to-back Grisham and Batman films, Schumacher decided to reinvent his career with darker, lower-budget fare like 8MM with Nicolas Cage, and Flawless with Robert De Niro. 8MM was entered into the 49th Berlin International Film Festival.[5]

In 1999, Schumacher also directed the music video for "Letting the Cables Sleep" by English rock band Bush. In 2000, Schumacher directed the Vietnam-era boot camp drama Tigerland, which introduced Hollywood to a young Colin Farrell. Kirk Honeycutt of The Hollywood Reporter praised the film as such: "Tigerland lands squarely in the top tier of best movies about America's Vietnam experience."

Schumacher returned to big-budget Hollywood with Bad Company starring Anthony Hopkins and Chris Rock. The film was originally slated to be released in November 2001, but after the September 11 attacks it was pushed back to the summer of 2002 because of its theme about terrorist attacks in New York City. The film was panned by most critics and was a box office failure. In 2003, he released the controversial Phone Booth, in which he once again worked with Farrell. The film - about an unseen gunman tormenting a publicist - was also delayed for months due to the Beltway sniper attacks. It received generally positive reviews, earning a 71 percent "Fresh" rating on the review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes.[6] Buoyed by Farrell's recently found fame, the film would earn $98.7 million worldwide.

In 2002, he directed Cate Blanchett in the Jerry Bruckheimer-produced biopic Veronica Guerin. The film is about the eponymous Irish journalist, who was murdered by drug dealers in 1996.

Schumacher directed a film version of the musical The Phantom of the Opera in 2004, an adaptation of Andrew Lloyd Webber's original stage musical. Despite mixed reviews, the film earned $154.6 million worldwide (Schumacher's biggest hit of the 21st century to date) and was nominated for three Academy Awards, as well as three Golden Globes including Best Motion Picture-Musical or Comedy.

Schumacher directed The Number 23 in 2007, which was a critical flop but a financial success. His next project was the vampire thriller Blood Creek, which was filmed in the spring of 2007 in rural Romania. It took a limited release.

In August 2008, Schumacher directed the music video for American rock band Scars on Broadway, for their upcoming single "World Long Gone".[7]

In October 2011, Schumacher's released his latest film, Trespass. The action-thriller reunited Schumacher with stars Nicole Kidman and Nicolas Cage.[8]

He was slated to next direct the film The Hive, but left the project for an undisclosed reason, replaced by Brad Anderson.[9]

Joel Schumacher is friends with David Fincher, and directed two episodes of the first season of House of Cards, which Fincher produced.

Personal life

Schumacher has been openly gay throughout most of his career.[10]

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Joel T. Schumacher's Timeline

August 29, 1939
June 22, 2020
Age 80