Gabriele Muccino biography
The Pursuit of Happyness Director
Date of Birth: May 20, 1967
Born in Rome, Gabriele Muccino's first on-the-set film experience was as a volunteer director's assistant. Interested in following that path, he enrolled in a directing program at Rome's Experimental Cinematography Institute as well as taking an independent screenwriting course. During that time, he made a handful of short films that aired on Italian TV.
After directing several television documentaries and some episodes of the 1996 TV soap opera Un posto al sole, Muccino directed a segment of the Italian feature film Intolerance (1996) before going on to win Best Film at the Torino International Festival of Young Cinema for his debut feature, Ecco fatto/That's It (1998).
His next film, a teen comedy called Come te nessumo mai/But Forever in My Mind (1999), starred his younger brother Silvio. Muccino won the Silver Iris at the Brussels International Film Festival for Best Screenplay, and the film won the Golden Castle at the Castellinaria International Festival of Young Cinema and the OCIC Award at the Buenos Aires International Festival of Independent Cinema.
But it was Muccino's third feature, L'Ultimo bacio/The Last Kiss (2001) that won him international attention. It was not only a box office success in Italy, earning Best Director and Best Screenplay at the Donatello awards, but it won the Audience Award at the 2002 Sundance Festival, introducing Muccino's work to the United States. Based on the success of the film, Muccino signed a two-picture deal with Miramax.
Muccino's next film was even more successful. Starring Monica Belluci, Ricordati di me/Remember Me, My Love (2003) won Best Director, Best Film and Best Screenplay at the Donatello Awards. At the Italian box office, it nearly made all its money back in the first weekend alone, and was distributed in limited release in the United States.
His first American film, Sony Pictures' The Pursuit of Happyness (2006), is a drama starring Will Smith as a struggling father, co-starring Smith's son, Jaden, making his film debut. Muccino once again directed Will Smith in the 2008 drama Seven Pounds about an aerospace engineer who embarks on a journey of redemption. Muccino's next big project came in 2012 with the romantic comedy Playing for Keeps , which featured an A-list cast including Gerard Butler, Jessica Biel, Dennis Quaid, Catherine Zeta-Jones and Uma Thurman.