Chuck Russell is an American film director, screenwriter, and producer, best known for his genre films. His best-known works include the fantasy slasher film A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors, the 1988 remake[1]of the 1958 monster horror film The Blob, the Jim Carrey superhero comedy film The Mask, the Arnold Schwarzenegger action film Eraser, and the Dwayne Johnson action-adventure The Scorpion King.

Chuck Russell
  • Film director
  • producer
  • screenwriter
  • actor
Years active1973–present

Career edit

Russell entered the film industry as a production manager and assistant director on independent films, while writing screenplays. During the production of the film Hell Night, he met writer Frank Darabont, with whom he would become a close collaborator. His first produced script was the 1984 film Dreamscape, directed by Joseph Ruben and starring Dennis Quaid.

Russell made his directorial debut in 1987 with A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors. At that time, New Line Cinema was uncertain about the future of the Elm Street franchise. Russell convinced them that the series could take a step further into Freddy's nightmare world through advanced visual effects and dramatize the bond among Freddy's youthful victims with the concept of Dream Warriors. The success of the film redefined the franchise for New Line, earning more at the box office than the first two films put together.

Russell went on to write and direct the cult horror film, The Blob in 1988,[1]once again stretching the boundaries of visual effects on a limited budget. He then found international acclaim with the blockbuster The Mask about a bank clerk who discovers an ancient mask that transforms him into a malicious prankster who uses practical jokes to fight crime. Russell created groundbreaking digital technologies for The Mask with George Lucas's Industrial Light and Magic, combining live action performance with radically new concepts in visual effects. Russell's work earned the film an Academy Award nomination for Best Visual Effects. The Mask also created international stardom for both Jim Carrey and Cameron Diaz. With a production budget of $18 million, The Mask earned more than $350 million in worldwide box office.

Russell then went on to direct the action films Eraser with Arnold Schwarzenegger, which grossed over $240 million internationally, and The Scorpion King, which was the first leading role for WWE star Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson. Both films were #1 box office hits upon their release.

Russell was originally attached to direct the 2004 film Collateral, though ultimately the production was passed onto Michael Mann. Russell retained an executive producer credit, while Darabont was an uncredited script doctor.[2]

After a fourteen year hiatus from directing (save for a 2010 episode of the television series Fringe), Russell's next film was 2016's I Am Wrath starring John Travolta. In 2019, he directed Junglee, an Indian action-adventure film that released on March 29, 2019. For Junglee, the 60-year-old director worked with elephants and the song-and-dance tradition unique to Indian cinema for the first time. Both were inspiring, he told during a recent visit to Mumbai.[3]

In 2022, Russell directed Paradise City, starring Bruce Willis and Travolta.

In 2017, Russell became attached to write and direct a remake of the 1986 film Witchboard.[4] The film would enter production in April 2023.[5][6] It is set for a 2024 release date.

Russell is the co-founder of A-Nation, a film production company utilizing blockchain technology.[7]

Filmography edit

Film edit

Year Title Director Writer Producer Notes
1984 Dreamscape No Yes Associate
1987 A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors Yes Yes No Directorial debut
Co-writer with Frank Darabont, Wes Craven and Bruce Wagner
1988 The Blob Yes Yes No Co-writer with Frank Darabont
1994 The Mask Yes No Executive
1996 Eraser Yes No Executive
2000 Bless the Child Yes No No
2002 The Scorpion King Yes No No
2016 I Am Wrath Yes No No
2019 Junglee Yes Yes No Co-writer with Raaghav Dar and Adam Prince
2022 Paradise City Yes Yes No Co-writer with Corey Large and Edward John Drake
2024 Witchboard Yes Yes Yes Post-production

Producer only edit

Year Title Director Notes
1980 The Hearse George Bowers Line producer
1981 Hell Night Tom DeSimone Executive producer
1982 The Seduction David Schmoeller
1984 Body Rock Marcelo Epstein
1985 Girls Just Want to Have Fun Alan Metter
1986 Back to School
2004 Collateral Michael Mann Executive producer

Television edit

Year Title Notes
2010 Fringe Episode: "The Abducted" (S3E7)[8]

References edit

  1. ^ a b Maslin, Janet (August 5, 1988). "Review/Film, The Blob, Modernized". The New York Times.
  2. ^ "IN CONVERSATION WITH FRANK DARABONT-by Chris Hewitt-Scraps from the loft". September 15, 2020. Retrieved March 13, 2024.
  3. ^ "Happy elephants equals happy performances: Hollywood director Chuck Russell on 'Junglee'".
  4. ^ Hamman, Cody (May 13, 2019). "Dream Warriors Chuck Russell to direct a remake of Witchboard". JoBlo. Archived from the original on March 31, 2023. Retrieved March 31, 2023.
  5. ^ "What's Shooting". ACTRA Montreal. March 29, 2023. Archived from the original on July 23, 2023. Retrieved July 23, 2023.
  6. ^ Deckelmeier, Joe (August 1, 2023). "SDCC 2023: Witchboard Director Chuck Russell On Revisiting A Classic Horror Movie". Screen Rant. Archived from the original on August 10, 2023. Retrieved August 10, 2023.
  7. ^ "A Nation Media–First High Budget Tokenized Film Production Company". Retrieved March 13, 2024.
  8. ^ Stegall, Sarah (December 3, 2010). "Candy Man—Fringe's "The Abducted"". SFScope. Archived from the original on May 14, 2012. Retrieved September 14, 2022.

External links edit