Ilya Naishuller

Ilya Viktorovich Naishuller (Russian: Илья Викторович Найшуллер; born 1983, Moscow, Russian SFSR, Soviet Union[1]) is a Russian musician and filmmaker. He is the founder of the Russian indie rock band Biting Elbows and production company Versus Pictures. He is also notable for directing, producing, writing the script, acting and composing the music for the 2015 film Hardcore Henry.

Ilya Naishuller
Ilya Viktorovich Naishuller

(1983-11-19) November 19, 1983 (age 37)
  • Musician
  • Filmmaker
Years active2008–present
Musical career
  • Vocals
  • Guitar
Associated actsBiting Elbows

Early life and careerEdit

Naishuller was born in Russia, the son of an ethnically Russian surgeon mother and a Jewish businessman father,[2] but from the ages of seven to fourteen he lived with his mother in London.[3][4] after which, they returned to Russia.[3]

He studied at the Tisch School of the Arts, but he left after a short time, since it appeared "useless" to him.[4] However, he met various filmmakers, some of whom he would collaborate with later.

In 1999, with some fellow students, Naishuller founded his first band which soon broke up.[3] In 2008, he founded the rock band Biting Elbows, where he is a singer and guitarist. In 2011, he appeared in the EP Dope Fiend Massacre and the debut album Biting Elbows.

In 2013, Naishuller appeared in the single Bad Motherfucker, where he also directed the music video. The first-person amateur video went on to be a viral hit online with over 20 million views[5] and was, among others, praised by Darren Aronofsky.[4]

In the same year he took up acting, playing a small role in the Roman Karimov crime comedy All at Once (Russian: Всё и сразу).

Shortly thereafter, Naishuller began shooting his film-directing debut Hardcore, later renamed Hardcore Henry. The action movie was produced by Timur Bekmambetov, Inga Vainshtein Smith, and Ekaterina Kononenko and featured supporting roles from Sharlto Copley and Tim Roth. Naishuller functioned as a screenwriter, director, producer and also took on a role as an actor. The film premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival 2015, and was released theatrically by STXfilms on April 8, 2016. It went on to gross $14.3 million USD, becoming one of the most successful Russian films since 1991.[6] On the same day, Naishuller, along with Brain Philipson and Will Stewart released a comic book titled Hardcore Akan #1 that serves as an origin story for the main antagonist of Hardcore Henry.[7]


Music videosEdit

Year Artist Title Director Producer Ref.
2010 Biting Elbows Dope Fiend Massacre Yes No [8]
2011 The Stampede Yes No [9]
2012 Toothpick Yes No [10]
2013 Bad Motherfucker Yes No [11]
2016 The Weeknd False Alarm Yes No [12]
2017 Leningrad "Кольщик" (Kolshchik) Yes No
"Вояж" (Voyage) Yes No
2018 "Жу-Жу" (Ju-Ju) Yes No
"Золото" (Gold) No Yes
2019 Biting Elbows Heartache Yes Yes
Control Yes Yes


Year Title Director Writer Producer Notes
2015 Hardcore Henry Yes Yes Yes Also cinematographer and actor
2021 Nobody[13] Yes No No Post-production

Other worksEdit

Year Title Notes
2016 The Medic A piece from Saatchi & Saatchi's 25x25 - a collection of 1 minute shorts directed by
the participants of the last 25 years of the New Director's Showcase


  1. ^ Ilja Naischuller at
  2. ^ Reddit: Ilya Naishuller Ask Me Anything Published 2015. Accessed 2018.
  3. ^ a b c Ilja Naischuller at
  4. ^ a b c Ilya Naishuller: Young Russian is the Next Quentin Tarantino at
  5. ^ Biting Elbows – ‘Bad Motherfucker’ Official Music Video at
  6. ^ Rapid Round: 'Hardcore Henry' Director Ilya Naishuller on First-Person Filmmaking, His Favorite Video Game at
  7. ^ Phillipson, Brian; Naishuller, Ilya; Stewart, Will (2016-04-08). Hardcore Akan #1. Bliss On Tap Publishing. ISBN 978-1-68124-466-2.
  8. ^ bitingelbows (2010-12-05). "Biting Elbows - 'Dope Fiend Massacre' Official Music Video". YouTube. Retrieved 2019-01-13.
  9. ^ bitingelbows (2011-09-20). "Biting Elbows - The Stampede (Official Music Video)". YouTube. Retrieved 2019-01-13.
  10. ^ bitingelbows (2012-04-26). "Biting Elbows - "Toothpick" Official Music Video". YouTube. Retrieved 2019-01-13.
  11. ^ bitingelbows (2013-03-18). "Biting Elbows - 'Bad Motherfucker' Official Music Video". YouTube. Retrieved 2019-01-13.
  12. ^ The Weeknd (2016-10-13). "The Weeknd - False Alarm". YouTube. Retrieved 2019-01-13.
  13. ^ Couch, Aaron (September 19, 2019). "Universal Sets Bob Odenkirk Action Thriller 'Nobody' for August 2020". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved December 10, 2019.

External linksEdit