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Stephen Sommers (born March 20, 1962) is an American film director and screenwriter, best known for big-budget movies, such as The Mummy (1999), its sequel, The Mummy Returns (2001), Van Helsing (2004), and G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra (2009). He also directed The Adventures of Huck Finn (1993), Disney's live action version of Rudyard Kipling's The Jungle Book (1994) and the cult classic horror film Deep Rising (1998).
|Education||St. Cloud Apollo High School|
|Alma mater||Saint John’s University, USC School of Cinematic Arts|
|Occupation||Film director, film producer, screenwriter|
Stephen Sommers was born in Indianapolis, and grew up in St. Cloud, Minnesota, where he attended St. Cloud Apollo High School. He is a 1980 graduate of Saint John's University in Collegeville, Minnesota, and the University of Seville in Spain. After graduating, he spent four years performing as an actor in theater groups and managing rock bands throughout Europe. He eventually returned to the United States and moved to Los Angeles, where he attended the USC School of Cinematic Arts for three years, earning a master's degree and writing and directing the award-winning short film Perfect Alibi.
Perfect Alibi helped Sommers acquire independent funding to write and direct his first feature film, the teen racing film Catch Me If You Can, filmed for $800,000 on location in his hometown of St. Cloud. The film was sold at the Cannes Film Festival for $7 million and later debuted on video in the United States.
Almost four years later, broke and in danger of having his house repossessed, he wrote and directed an adaptation of Mark Twain's classic The Adventures of Huck Finn for Walt Disney Pictures, as well as Rudyard Kipling's The Jungle Book. He later wrote the screenplays for Gunmen and Tom and Huck, which he also executive produced for Disney (along with a TV version of Oliver Twist in 1997 starring Richard Dreyfuss and Elijah Wood), and worked as a staff writer at Hollywood Pictures. While there, he worked on a script called Tentacle, which he later directed under the title Deep Rising in 1998.
In 1999, he wrote and directed Universal Studios' big-budget remake of The Mummy. The film was a smash hit, and Sommers received two Saturn Awards nominations for Best Director and Best Writer in 2000 by the Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror Films. A successful sequel, The Mummy Returns, followed two years later, and he also co-wrote and produced 2002's The Scorpion King, a prequel/spin-off of The Mummy Returns.
In 2004, Sommers founded his own company (along with editor/producing partner Bob Ducsay), The Sommers Company, and returned to theater screens with Van Helsing, a film pitting legendary vampire hunter Gabriel Van Helsing against the triumvirate of Universal movie monsters: Count Dracula, The Wolf Man, and Frankenstein's monster. Before Van Helsing even premiered, Sommers and Ducsay began developing a spin-off TV series for NBC called Transylvania. Though featuring none of the characters from the film, the series (which was to have made use of the film's Prague set) was about a young cowboy from Texas who becomes a sheriff in Transylvania, has many strange adventures, and encounters many strange creatures. Sommers and Ducsay were to have been executive producers, and Sommers wrote scripts for the pilot and first several episodes, but NBC decided not to go through with the show.
Since Van Helsing, Sommers has been attached to a number of projects. He was originally set to direct Night at the Museum, but dropped out due to creative differences. He was also attached to a remake of When Worlds Collide (to be executive produced by Steven Spielberg), a new big-screen adaptation of Flash Gordon, a swashbuckling adventure film called Airborn based on the novel Airborn, a romantic/adventure story called Big Love, and a remake of the French film Les Victimes. Sommers opted out of directing the third Mummy film, titled The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor, instead becoming one of its producers.
Sommers directed Paramount Pictures' summer 2009 live-action adaptation of G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra, and also served as a producer. Around that time, he was developing a Tarzan adaptation for Warner Bros. but left the project. His most recent film, Odd Thomas, had been delayed from release indefinitely due to lawsuits against the production company, but it is now available to watch on Netflix's streaming service.
|1988||Perfect Alibi||Yes||Yes||Yes||Short film;|
Won 4th Prize in the narrative film category at the 1988 FOCUS Awards for collegiate filmmakers.
|1989||Catch Me If You Can||Yes||Yes||No||Directorial Debut|
|1993||The Adventures of Huck Finn||Yes||Yes||No|
|The Jungle Book||Yes||Yes||No|
|1995||Tom and Huck||No||Yes||Executive|
|1997||Oliver Twist||No||Yes||Executive||TV movie, uncredited|
|1999||The Mummy||Yes||Yes||No||Nominated- Saturn Award for Best Director|
Nominated- Saturn Award for Best Writing
|2000||Running Away||No||No||No||Industry mentor|
|2001||The Mummy Returns||Yes||Yes||No|
|2002||The Scorpion King||No||Yes||Yes|
|Van Helsing: The London Assignment||No||No||Executive||Short film|
|2008||The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor||No||No||Yes|
|The Scorpion King 2: Rise of a Warrior||No||No||Yes||Uncredited|
|2009||G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra||Yes||Yes||Executive||Nominated- Golden Raspberry Award for Worst Director|
|2012||The Scorpion King 3: Battle for Redemption||No||No||Executive|
|G.I. Joe: Retaliation||No||No||Executive|
|2015||The Scorpion King 4: Quest for Power||No||No||Executive|
|2018||The Scorpion King: Book of Souls||No||No||Executive|
|Actor/actress||The Adventures of Huck Finn
|The Jungle Book
|The Mummy Returns
|G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra
|Kevin J. O'Connor|
|2000||Saturn Award||Best Director||The Mummy||Nominated|
|2010||Golden Raspberry Award||Worst Director||G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra||Nominated|
- AMC's Sunday Morning Shootout, June 27, 2004
- "Stephen Sommers Interview, Part 2".
- The Adventures of Huck Finn Audio Commentary
- "When Worlds Collide".
- Fleming, Michael (August 23, 2007). "Stephen Sommers to direct 'G.I. Joe'". Variety.
- Douglas, Edward. "Exclusive: Director Stephen Sommers Says "Yo Joe!"". Superhero Hype.
- VOLAND, JOHN (2 September 1988). "Awards Given 24 College Film Makers" – via LA Times.
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