Stephen Gyllenhaal - Director

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WHY SHOULD YOU LISTEN TO HIM…? Because he’s directed just about every big hitter in town. Plus he directed an episode of TWIN PEAKS and that on its own is enough for us!

Jessica Lange, Halle Berry, Debra Winger, Jeremy Irons, Robin Williams, Dennis Hopper and Billy Bob Thornton.


Award-winning director Stephen Gyllenhaal’s productions include LOSING ISAIAH with Jessica Lange and Halle Berry; DANGEROUS WOMAN with Debra Winger and David Strathairn; WATERLAND with Jeremy Irons; PARIS TROUT with Ed Harris and Dennis Hopper; and KILLING IN A SMALL TOWN with Barbara Hershey. He also co-wrote and directed HOMEGROWN with Billy Bob Thornton, Hank Azaria, Jamie Lee Curtis and John Lithgow.

Stephen loves to work with wonderful actors: he raised two.

He has also directed various mini-series, TV movies and TV episodes including: FAMILY OF SPIES with Powers Booth, LIVING WITH THE DEAD with Ted Danson and Mary Steenburgen; TIME BOMB with David Arquette; HOMICIDE with guest star Robin Williams; TWIN PEAKS, THE MENTALIST with Simon Baker, and NUMB3RS with Rob Morrow and David Krumholtz.

He is chair of the DGA’s Independent Director’s Committee, has published the book of poetry, ClapTrap: Notes from Hollywood; and writes a nearly daily blog. He also writes regularly for The Huffington Post and is finishing his first novel, LIQUID MOTEL.


Q:  What was your favourite film as a kid?


Q:  Who inspired you when you were starting out?
A:   Bergman, Fellini,

Q:  What was your big break?
A:  Getting to shoot a small spot on SESAME STREET.

Q:  What was the best day in your career?
A:   When I shot the scene in WATERLAND when the retarded brother jumps off the boat. It's the closest I've been to real cinema, I think. I also had a great time on this last movie, I just finished -- GRASSROOTS.

Q:  What has been your most important lesson?
A:   Stay calm even when everything goes wrong.

Q:  If a niece or nephew wanted to be in the business, what would you advise them?
A:  Avoid it at all costs, but if you think you'll shrivel up and die if you can't do it, dive in with everything you've got.

Q:  What is the hardest part of your job and how do you overcome it?
A:   Find a good script. I write the best that I can now and I pray to the writing gods that a great script will come along.

Q:  What do you feel is a writers’ or filmmakers' key responsibility?
A:   Comfort the disturbed, disturb the comfortable.

Q:  What mistakes do you see writers or film makers making over and over?
A:   Writing about stuff they don't know, ie writing about stuff they haven't actually experienced. They'd get rich, possibly, but they'll be miserable in the end.

Q:  What advice would you offer a writer or film maker?
A:   Write what you know. Write stuff that's happened in your life and then refine it into the truth of what it really is/was. Not easy. Good luck.