Date of Birth: February 27, 1977
Born in Malaysia, James Wan grew up in Australia. He knew by the age of 11 that he wanted to be a filmmaker and went on to receive his Bachelor of Arts degree from the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology in Melbourne, then began making shorts and music videos. Wan met fellow aspiring filmmaker Leigh Whannell at school, and together they came up with an idea for a horror movie. Whannell wrote the screenplay, and Wan directed an eight-minute sample short on DVD for them to shop around for financing.
Producers at the US film company Evolution saw the DVD and were impressed. They liked Wan's style and Whannell's acting, and asked them to make the short into a full-length feature. The two flew to the States to cast and shoot the film, called Saw (2004), which stars Cary Elwes, Danny Glover and Whannell, as well as Shawnee Smith (on whom Wan has had a longtime crush). Wan and Whannell have since collaborated on a second screenplayDead Silence (2007), starring Donnie Wahlberg, who appeared in Saw II and Saw III. Next up for Wan was the horror film Insidious (2011), written by Whannell and starring Patrick Wilson and Rose Byrne.