Jon Amiel biography
Date of Birth: May 20, 1948
Jon Amiel credits his English teacher, Paddy Browne, for inspiring him to have confidence in himself and to work hard to get into Cambridge University as an English literature major. Amiel's first job was with the Oxford and Cambridge Shakespeare Company. From there, he moved on to become literary manager for the Hampstead Theatre Club, a job that included selecting the plays that they would perform. It was there that he got his start as a director. He next moved on to directing for the Royal Shakespeare Company before being hired as a story editor for the BBC. While there, Amiel took a three-month directing course and began directing dramas.
He directed the award-winning Romance Romance (1984), followed by The Silent Twins (1985). Based on the true story of twin girls who invented their own way of communicating between themselves, cutting off the rest of the world, the drama was well-received and led to Amiel being chosen to direct the highly-successful mini-series The Singing Detective for the BBC. The series was a hit not only in the U.K., but also in the U.S. and Australia, earning a BAFTA nomination for Best Drama Series as well as winning a Peabody Award.
Amiel made his directorial film debut with Queen of Hearts (1989). The film won Amiel a First Film Prize at the Montreal World Film Festival, as well as the Grand Prix at the Paris Film Festival. Hollywood beckoned, and Amiel answered the call. He flew to the States to direct Peter Falk and Keanu Reeves in the comedy Tune in Tomorrow (1990). His work won two awards at the Deauville Film Festival--an Audience award and a Critics award. For his next film, Amiel took on the period drama Sommersby (1993), starring Jodie Foster and Richard Gere. The film was a remake of the French hit, The Return of Martin Guerre (1982), about a woman whose husband, believed dead, returns looking physically the same, but behaving differently. Reviews were mixed, but the film brought in over $140 million worldwide at the box office and won a Golden Screen award in Germany.
With comedies, musicals and romantic dramas already to his credit, Amiel next took on the thriller Copycat (1995), starring Sigourney Weaver and Holly Hunter. Once again, he was honored for his work, winning an Audience Award at the Cognac Festival du Film Policier. Recent credits include the crime comedy The Man Who Knew Too Little (1997), starring Bill Murray and Joanne Whalley; Entrapment (1999), starring Sean Connery and Catherine Zeta-Jones, and The Core (2003), starring Hilary Swank and Aaron Eckhardt.