Boaz Yakin biography
Date of Birth: 1966
New York born Boaz Yakin was born to non-practicing Jewish parents who enrolled him in an Orthodox Jewish school in the family's Upper West Side neighborhood.
At school, Yakin was a willful heretic, taking pride in being different and arguing with classmates who would call him a sinner and then report him to the rabbi. Other times, Yakin came home from school in tears, once freaked out by a rabbi who gave a blow-by-blow lecture on the types of death penalties and going through the details of stoning someone.
This mixture of enlightenment and trauma would later play out in his films, including A Price Above Rubies (1998), set in a Brooklyn Chassidic community.
Starring Renée Zellweger, the film tells the story of the wife of a scholar-teacher (Glenn Fitzgerald) who becomes a new mother and appears to be on the verge of either a nervous breakdown or of taking control of her life.
It upset some for portraying a Chassidic man as an insensitive lover; one woman even approached Yakin to say she was married to an Orthodox Jew and that he was "wonderful in bed."
Conflict also showed up in Yakin's first feature Fresh (1994), which was also set in Brooklyn, but whose main character is a young African-American boy trying to move beyond the violent confines of his community.
Yakin won the Filmmakers Trophy at Sundance for his effort.
His next film, Remember The Titans (2000), was based on the true story of football coach Herman Boone (played by Denzel Washington) who led one of the first integrated football teams in Virginia in 1971, much to the dismay of the local white folks.
He tried a different genre altogether when he took on Uptown Girls (2003), a comedy about a New York socialite (Brittany Murphy) who has to take a job as a nanny when she loses her funding.
Next came the thriller Safe about a cage-fighter who must protect a young math prodigy being targetted by the Triads, the Russian mob and a corrupt arm of the NYPD.