|Joel Schumacher Quick Info|
|Height||6 ft 3 in|
|Date of Birth||August 29, 1939|
Joel Schumacher is an American filmmaker, who rose to fame after writing and directing the 1985 coming-of-age film, St. Elmo’s Fire. As a youngster, he studied fashion design in New York and worked in the fashion industry for a while. However, upon realizing that he wanted to pursue filmmaking, he moved to Los Angeles. Initially, he only got some work to design sets for TV commercials. He got his big break, however, when noted director Woody Allen hired him as a costume designer for his film Sleeper (1973). While on set, Joel told Woody about his filmmaking ambitions and Woody encouraged him to try his hand at writing, saying that he could notice a lot of promise and potential in him. From 1976 to 1978, Joel wrote the screenplay for 3 films, which landed him the job of directing the 1981 movie The Incredible Shrinking Woman. In the next decade, as a director, Joel dabbled in various movie genres like horror-comedy, romantic comedy, sci-fi, romance, and thriller; with considerable commercial and critical success.
His style and financial success encouraged studios to trust him with bigger projects. In 1994, he was selected to direct the adaptation of John Grisham’s novel, The Client. Grisham, pleased by the end product, personally requested for Joel to be at the helm when another of his novels was to be adapted into a movie, in 1996. Joel’s growing clout led him to be chosen as Tim Burton’s successor, as the director of the Batman film franchise. He directed 2 films for the series; the first (in 1995) was a global blockbuster, but the 2nd (in 1997) was a critical and commercial failure; leading to the franchise being put on hiatus for several years. After that setback, Joel decided to reinvent his career with 2 low-budget and darker films in 1999 – 8mm and Flawless. Post the success of these films, Joel again went on an experimental spree over the next decade; directing movies in genres like military drama, thriller, biopic, musical and horror; with mixed critical acclaim but considerable box-office success. In 2013, he also directed 2 episodes of the 1st season of the Netflix political drama House of Cards.
Joel T. Schumacher
New York City, New York, United States
Bel Air, Los Angeles, California, United States
Joel graduated with honors at Parsons School for Design and then studied at the Fashion Institute of Technology, both in New York. After realizing that he wanted to pursue filmmaking; he moved to Los Angeles and earned an MFA (Master of Fine Arts) degree from the University of California, Los Angeles.
Director, Screenwriter, Producer
- Father – Francis Schumacher (Soda-fountain worker) (Died in 1943)
- Mother – Marian Schumacher (Saleswoman) (Died in 1965)
6 ft 3 in or 190.5 cm
78 kg or 172 lbs
Boyfriend / Spouse
Joel has been openly gay for a long time and has often mentioned in interviews that he has been involved with more than 20,000 men. However, he has also stated that despite his promiscuity, he has not been in any serious relationship because it was a taboo subject in his time.
Race / Ethnicity
He has Swedish ancestry on his mother’s side and American ancestry on his father’s side.
Joel has been openly gay and has often purposely depicted that as a statement in many of his films.
- Booming voice
- Strikingly big ears
- Light-brown spots on the forehead
- Backcombed hairstyle
In an interview, Joel stated that he feels the universe could not be fully explained and that he dislikes the term God as it has been overly politicized and used as a tool to discriminate.
Best Known For
His direction of movies such as The Lost Boys (1987), Flatliners (1990), The Client (1994), Falling Down (1993), 8mm (1999), Tigerland (2000), and Phone Booth (2002)
As a writer, Joel’s feature film debut was the 1976 musical drama Sparkle.
His directorial debut, though, came with the 1981 science-fiction comedy film, The Incredible Shrinking Woman.
He made his first theatrical film appearance as “Himself” in the 1998 film, Welcome to Hollywood.
First TV Show
Joel’s TV show directorial debut came when he directed 5 episodes in 1992 for the soap opera 2000 Malibu Road.
He made his first TV show appearance as “Himself” on Charlie Rose in 1995.
Joel lives alone in his estate and does not pay much heed to gymming, especially at his age. However, a personal trainer helps him out on a daily basis by supervising light weight-training sessions.
Joel Schumacher Favorite Things
- Movie Directors – Woody Allen, Billy Wilder, Kathryn Bigelow, Stanley Kubrick, Christopher Nolan
- Movies – Battleship Potemkin (1925), Great Expectations (1946), Lawrence of Arabia (1962), The Cook, The Thief, His Wife and Her Lover (1989), Amores Perros (2000), Y Tu Mamá También (2001), and Hero (2002)
- Actors – Daniel Day-Lewis, Colin Farrell, Daniel Craig
- Actresses – Monica Bellucci, Cate Blanchett, Samantha Morton
Joel Schumacher Facts
- After his father passed away when he was just a 4-year-old, Joel’s mother started to work long hours as a saleswoman. Left on his own, young Joel used to put on puppet shows for friends and earn money by delivering meat for a butcher.
- After high school, Joel worked as a clothing store window dresser and then in the fashion industry.
- Joel, as a youngster, was heavily addicted to drugs. In a span of 5 years, from 1961 to 1966, he had lost dozens of pounds and 5 teeth due to the ill-effects of drugs. In 1970, he buried all his drug syringes and set about fixing his life.
- While he was deep in debt, he shared an apartment with gossip columnist Liz Smith, who helped him survive on a shoestring budget.
- By 1991, Joel had started to taste success in films but he was still reeling from ‘withdrawal symptoms’ due to his drug addiction in the past. He sought the help of a psychiatrist and also attended many Alcoholics Anonymous meetings, which helped him get off drugs and alcohol.
- In an interview, Joel stated that although the 1946 movie Great Expectations had haunted him as a young boy, it had also inspired him to be a filmmaker.
- Joel claims that he is a lifelong Batman fan and that he had always wanted to adapt Frank Miller’s famed comic-book Batman: Year One. However, he was pushed by the producers to make a lighter film that resulted in the 1997 movie Batman & Robin.
- In the audio commentary section of the special edition DVD of the movie Batman & Robin, Joel took full responsibility and apologized for the negative reaction that the film received from die-hard Batman fans. He claimed that he was under pressure from the production company to make the movie family-friendly and admitted that he went too far in that direction.
- Joel was initially slated to direct the 2003 legal drama movie Runaway Jury, based on John Grisham’s novel of the same name. This was because he had already directed 2 films based on Grisham’s novels: The Client (1994), and A Time to Kill (1996).
- Joel has also directed music videos for songs like Devil Inside (1988) by INXS, Heaven Help (1993) by Lenny Kravitz, Kiss from a Rose (1994) by Seal, and The End is the Beginning is the End (1997) by Smashing Pumpkins.
- Joel is also renowned for casting young actors and developing their careers. He has helped kick-start the careers of actors like Colin Farrell, Kiefer Sutherland, Jason Patric, Julia Roberts, Demi Moore, and Matthew McConaughey.
- Joel’s 1999 film 8mm was in contention to win the Golden Bear Award for “Best Film” at the 49th Berlin International Film Festival.
- Joel’s film Bad Company, revolving around terrorist attacks, was initially scheduled to be released in November 2001. However, it was pushed back to 2002, after the September 11 terrorist attacks in New York City.
- His 2004 musical film, The Phantom of the Opera, became the biggest financial success of his career, despite mixed reviews. It was also nominated for 3 Academy Awards as well as 3 Golden Globes.
- Joel’s 2002 film Phone Booth, based on an unknown gunman threatening a civilian, was delayed for several months as it coincided with the Beltway sniper attacks.
- In 2006, he was scheduled to adopt the novel The Minds of Billy Milligan into a film. It was slated for a 2008 release, but it kept getting delayed and was permanently shelved when the book’s author passed away in 2014.
- He is known to cast the same actors in multiple films. He has frequently collaborated with actors like Nicole Kidman, Jim Carrey, Nicolas Cage, Oliver Platt, John Diehl, Julia Roberts, Kiefer Sutherland, Colin Farrell, and Shea Whigham.
- Joel is not active on social media.
Featured Image by The Flea Theater / YouTube