Zachary Edward Snyder (born March 1, 1966) is an American film director, producer, screenwriter, and cinematographer. He made his feature film debut in 2004 with Dawn of the Dead, a remake of the 1978 horror film of the same name. Since then, he has directed or produced a number of comic book and superhero films, including 300 (2007) and Watchmen (2009), as well as the Superman film that started the DC Extended Universe, Man of Steel (2013), and its follow-ups, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (2016) and Justice League (2017), as well as the director's cut of Justice League that was later released in 2021. He also directed the computer-animated film Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga'Hoole (2010), the psychological action film Sucker Punch (2011), the zombie heist film Army of the Dead (2021), and the space opera film Rebel Moon (2023).
Zachary Edward Snyder
March 1, 1966
Green Bay, Wisconsin, U.S.
|Education||Art Center College of Design (BFA)|
Early life edit
Zachary Edward Snyder was born in Green Bay, Wisconsin, and raised in Riverside, Connecticut. His mother, Marsha Manley (née Reeves; d. 2010), was a painter and a photography teacher at Daycroft School, which Snyder later attended. His father, Charles Edward "Ed" Snyder, worked as an executive recruiter. Marsha always nurtured her son's artistic side, buying him his first film camera. He grew up in Greenwich, Connecticut. He has an older sister, Audrey, and was raised as a Christian Scientist. He also had a brother, Sam, who died when Snyder was a teenager.
Snyder attended Camp Owatonna in Harrison, Maine, during the summer months as a child. Snyder studied painting a year after high school at Heatherley School of Fine Art in England, although he had already begun filmmaking. Back in high school, Snyder struggled due to his dyslexia and made his first film there with the camera his mother bought him, using it for make an unflaterring commentary about his school's administration that got him expelled. Afterward, Snyder attended Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, California. He graduated with a BFA in film in 1989.
Snyder made his feature film debut with the remake of the horror film Dawn of the Dead (2004), and scored a box office hit with the fantasy war film 300 (2006), adapted from writer-artist Frank Miller's Dark Horse Comics miniseries of the same name. His Warner Bros. film Watchmen was released on March 6, 2009, and grossed $185 million worldwide. His follow-up project/animation debut, Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga'Hoole, was released on September 24, 2010. Snyder produced, co-wrote, and directed Sucker Punch, which was released on March 25, 2011. The film, based on a script written by Snyder and Steve Shibuya, was about a young woman in a mental hospital who fantasizes of escape with her fellow inmates.
He directed 2013's Man of Steel for Warner Bros., a reboot of the Superman franchise and the jumpstart to the DC Extended Universe (DCEU) and produced the prequel/sequel to 300, 300: Rise of an Empire (2014).
During Comic Con 2013, Snyder announced that Batman and Superman would share the screen in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, released in 2016. Snyder directed, Cavill reprised his role as Superman, and Ben Affleck played Batman. Snyder directed Warner Bros.' 2017 Justice League, but he exited during post-production to deal with the death of his daughter, Autumn Snyder. His replacement was Joss Whedon.
On January 29, 2019, Snyder announced that he had signed on to helm Army of the Dead, a zombie heist thriller, for Netflix. Snyder directed and produced the film with his partner and wife, Deborah Snyder, via their newly rebranded production company, The Stone Quarry. His agreement with Netflix has since expanded into several Army of the Dead projects; Army of Thieves, a prequel released in 2021, and Planet of the Dead, a sequel to be created.
Future and potential projects edit
In July 2021, Snyder was officially announced to be developing the film Rebel Moon for Netflix. It will be inspired by Star Wars and the films of Akira Kurosawa. Filming began in April 2022 and lasted until November that year, with the project being developed as a two-part film.
Snyder will produce Twilight of the Gods, an anime-style web series inspired by Norse mythology for Netflix. Snyder is also developing a King Arthur film, which he said will be a "faithful retelling". It will be set during the American Gold rush era.
Snyder has been developing Horse Latitudes, a film about two war photgraphers, since 2011 although the project is on hold while he works at Netflix.
In a November 2023 interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Snyder stated that while he no longer has any interest in tackling superhero comic book adaptations in light of the DCEU continuity's conclusion with Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom, he would only consider returning for the DC Universe if James Gunn invites him back to direct a faithful adaptation of Miller's The Dark Knight Returns comic book.
Snyder often uses slow motion, particularly the technique of speed ramping, in and out of the fight scenes in his films, differing from other directors who make multiple cuts and close-ups during a fight. A minute-long shot from 300 shows King Leonidas slaughtering his enemies, the camera zooming in and out to emphasize each kill and move Leonidas makes.
Snyder said "There are other superhero movies where they joke about how basically no one's getting hurt. That's not us. What is that message? That it's okay that there's this massive destruction with zero consequence for anyone? That's what Watchmen was about in a lot of ways too. There was a scene, that scene where Dan and Laurie get mugged. They beat up the criminals. I was like the first guy, I want to show his arm get broken. I want a compound fracture. I don't want it to be clean. I want you to go, 'Oh my God, I guess you're right. If you just beat up a guy in an alley he's not going to just be lying on the ground. It's going to be messy'."
Snyder has been described as one of the most polarizing directors of modern cinema. David Ehrlich of IndieWire wrote that Snyder's "name alone is enough to launch a thousand angry tweets, and the most passionate writing about his work is exclusively found in the comment sections of websites like this one. Snyder's critics really seem to hate him, and Snyder's fans really seem to hate his critics ... Is Snyder a master or a hack? A misunderstood myth-maker, or a meathead with a movie camera?" Film critic Armond White listed Snyder as one of the four best filmmakers of the 2010s. Director James Cameron praised Snyder, listing him as one of the filmmakers who created their own "cinematic language".
Personal life edit
Snyder lives in Pasadena, California with his second wife, producer Deborah Johnson. The couple first met in 1996, began dating in 2002, and married on September 25, 2004, at St. Bartholomew's Episcopal Church in Manhattan, New York. He was previously married to Denise Weber.
Snyder has eight children: two biological children and two adopted daughters with Weber, two biological sons from a relationship with Kirsten Elin, and two adopted children with Johnson. The suicide of his daughter Autumn prompted Snyder to withdraw from post-production work on Justice League in May 2017 to be with his family, which resulted in Joss Whedon completing the film in his place.
Following his daughter's suicide, Snyder became involved in philanthropic activities directed towards suicide prevention and mental health awareness. Snyder promoted this effort on social media by selling clothing and merchandise related to the Snyder Cut; in May 2021, it was revealed that this effort had raised more than $750,000 in charitable donations to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.
In another effort to help with suicide prevention, Snyder included a billboard for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention with the message "You are not alone" in a scene in Zack Snyder's Justice League. The film features other tributes to his late daughter.
Political views edit
Although his films have been critiqued as having "right-wing" messages, politically, Snyder is a Democrat. He endorsed Joe Biden in the 2020 presidential election. In a 2021 interview with The Guardian, he stated: I vote Democrat! I'm a true lover of individual rights. I've always been a super-strong advocate of women's rights and a woman's right to choose, and I've always been surrounded by powerful women. And, of course, I'm a huge advocate for the rights of all ethnicities and every walk of life. I would say I'm a pretty liberal guy. I want to make sure everyone's heard and everyone feels included. I don't have a rightwing political agenda. People see what they want to see. For me, that was not certainly the point.
|2004||Dawn of the Dead||Yes||No||No||No||Directorial debut|
|2007||300||Yes||Yes||No||No||Co-wrote with Kurt Johnstad and Michael B. Gordon|
|2010||Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga'Hoole||Yes||No||No||No|
|2011||Sucker Punch||Yes||Yes||Yes||No||Co-wrote with Steve Shibuya|
|2013||Man of Steel||Yes||No||No||No|
|2014||300: Rise of an Empire||No||Yes||Yes||No||Co-wrote with Kurt Johnstad|
|2016||Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice||Yes||No||No||No|
|Suicide Squad||No||No||Executive||No||Also directed the Flash cameo scene|
|2017||Wonder Woman||No||Story||Yes||No||Co-wrote story with Allan Heinberg and Jason Fuchs|
|Justice League||Yes[N 1]||Story||No||No||Co-wrote story with Chris Terrio|
|2020||Wonder Woman 1984||No||No||Yes||No|
|2021||Zack Snyder's Justice League[N 2]||Yes||Story||No||No||Co-wrote story with Chris Terrio and Will Beall|
|Army of the Dead||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Co-wrote with Shay Hatten and Joby Harold|
|The Suicide Squad||No||No||Executive||No|
|Army of Thieves||No||Story||Yes||No||Co-wrote story with Shay Hatten|
|2023||Rebel Moon||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Co-wrote with Kurt Johnstad and Shay Hatten|
|2024||Rebel Moon – Part Two: The Scargiver||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
Short films edit
|2004||The Lost Tape: Andy's Terrifying Last Days Revealed||Yes||No||No||No|
|2009||Tales of the Black Freighter||No||Yes||Executive||No||Direct-to-video|
|Under the Hood||No||No||Executive||No|
|2013||Superman 75th Anniversary||Yes||Story||No||No||Co-wrote story with Bruce Timm|
|2017||Snow Steam Iron||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
Music videos edit
|1989||Lizzy Borden||"Love Is a Crime"|
|1992||Peter Murphy||"You're So Close"|
|Soul Asylum||"Somebody to Shove"|
|Alexander O'Neal||"In the Middle"|
|Paul Westerberg||"World Class Fad"|
|1994||ZZ Top||"World of Swirl"|
|Dionne Farris||"I Know"|
|1995||Rod Stewart||"Leave Virginia Alone"|
|2009||My Chemical Romance||"Desolation Row"|
|2022||Teen Titans Go!||No||No||No||No||Episode: "365!"; guest star|
|TBA||Twilight of the Gods||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||In production|
Awards and nominations edit
Snyder's body of work has earned him a number of awards, including two Clio Awards and a Gold Lion Award for his Jeep "Frisbee" commercial. He also won the Society of British Advertisers Award for Humor for his controversial EB Beer commercial "General's Party".
|2004||Cannes Film Festival||Golden Camera||Dawn of the Dead||Nominated|
|2007||Golden Schmoes Award||Best Director of the Year||300||Nominated|
|Hollywood Film Award||Hollywood Movie of the Year||Won|
|2008||Saturn Award||Best Director||Won|
|Best Writing (Shared with Michael B. Gordon & Kurt Johnstad)||Nominated|
|2009||ShoWest Award||Director of the Year||Watchmen||Won|
|2010||Saturn Award||Best Director||Nominated|
|SFX Award||Best Director||Nominated|
|St. Louis Film Critics Association Award||Best Animated Feature Film||Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga'Hoole||Nominated|
|2013||Hollywood Film Award||Hollywood Movie of the Year||Man of Steel||Nominated|
|2014||Jupiter Award||Best International Film||Nominated|
|2017||Golden Raspberry Award||Worst Director||Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice||Nominated|
|Jupiter Award||Best International Film||Nominated|
|Dragon Awards||Best Science Fiction or Fantasy Movie (Shared with Patty Jenkins, Allan Heinberg & Jason Fuchs||Wonder Woman||Won|
|Satellite Awards||Best Adapted Screenplay (Shared with Allan Heinberg & Jason Fuchs||Nominated|
|2018||American Film Institute||Top Ten Films of the Year (Shared with Charles Roven, Richard Suckle & Deborah Snyder)||Won|
|Producers Guild of America Awards||Best Theatrical Motion Picture (Shared with Charles Roven, Richard Suckle & Deborah Snyder||Nominated|
|Hugo Awards||Best Dramatic Presentation - Long Form (Shared with Patty Jenkins, Allan Heinberg & Jason Fuchs||Won|
|2021||Hollywood Critics Association||Valiant Award||Himself||Won|
|Dragon Awards||Best Science Fiction or Fantasy Movie||Zack Snyder's Justice League||Nominated|
|2022||Academy Awards||Oscars Cheer Moment||"The Flash enters the speed force" – Zack Snyder's Justice League||Won|
|Oscars Fan Favorite||Army of the Dead||Won|
- Snyder was the director of Justice League during principal photography, but was replaced by Joss Whedon during post-production. Snyder retained directorial credit for the finished film, though reports have indicated Whedon reshot a significant portion of the film. Snyder later edited a director's cut of the film, removing all of Whedon's footage and restoring his own footage that was deleted in the theatrical release.
- Snyder shot four to five minutes of additional footage in late 2020 for his cut.
- "Justice League: Zack Snyder quits movie after daughter kills herself". The Guardian. May 23, 2017. Retrieved February 13, 2019.
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- Everhart, Bill (March 8, 2007). "Fan makes a film". The Berkshire Eagle. Retrieved October 8, 2013.
- "Marsha Snyder Obituary – Pittsfield, MA". The Berkshire Eagle. Legacy.com. Retrieved August 8, 2015.
- "The North Adams Transcript from North Adams, Massachusetts · Page 15". Newspapers.com. May 5, 1958. Archived from the original on December 8, 2015. Retrieved August 8, 2015.
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- Louie, Elaine (February 18, 2011). "Off Screen, a Long-Running Romance". The New York Times. Retrieved October 2, 2014.
- Zack Snyder Answers the Web's Most Searched Questions | WIRED, retrieved May 23, 2021
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- "Dawn of the Dead - Production Notes". Media Atlantis. Universal Pictures. Retrieved April 26, 2021.
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- "Zack Snyder Returning to Movies With Zombie Action Pic 'Army of the Dead' (Exclusive)". The Hollywood Reporter. January 29, 2019. Retrieved January 31, 2019.
- O'Rourke, Ryan (October 28, 2021). "'Planet of the Dead' Will Have Some "Time Loop Fun," Teases Director Zack Snyder". Collider. Retrieved October 28, 2021.
- ""It Will Be an Entirely New Thing": Zack Snyder's $20M-Plus 'Justice League' Cut Plans Revealed". The Hollywood Reporter. May 20, 2020. Retrieved June 11, 2020.
- "Zack Snyder Sets Next Movie, Sci-Fi Adventure 'Rebel Moon', at Netflix (Exclusive)". The Hollywood Reporter. July 6, 2021. Retrieved July 6, 2021.
- Kit, Borys (February 9, 2022). "Charlie Hunnam, Djimon Hounsou, Bae Doona, Ray Fisher Join Zack Snyder's 'Rebel Moon'". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved March 8, 2022.
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- Gemmill, Allie (July 11, 2019). "Zack Snyder Set to Produce a Netflix Anime Series About Norse Mythology". Collider. Retrieved January 9, 2021.
- "Zack Snyder says he is developing a King Arthur movie". The New Indian Express. Retrieved July 1, 2021.
- "Zack Snyder Is Writing His King Arthur Movie Set During The Gold Rush". Screen Rant. May 20, 2021. Retrieved July 1, 2021.
- Kit, Borys (July 21, 2021). "Zack Snyder's Stone Quarry Productions Signs First-Look Film Deal With Netflix (Exclusive)". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved July 21, 2021.
- "Zack Snyder Signs First-Look Deal With Netflix". Movies. Retrieved July 22, 2021.
- "Zack Snyder's New Movie Horse Latitudes Has to Wait Longer". Screen Rant. May 10, 2021.
- Nicholson, Amy (February 26, 2009). "Slow and Steady". Box Office Magazine. Archived from the original on March 3, 2009. Retrieved March 28, 2016.
- Staskiewicz, Keith (July 2, 2015). "Zack Snyder defends Man of Steel ending". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved August 3, 2020.
- Mendelovich, Yossy (February 26, 2021). "'Army of the Dead' Trailer Is Out: Shot on RED Monstro by Cinematographer (and Director) Zack Snyder". Y.M.Cinema - News & Insights on Digital Cinema. Retrieved February 26, 2021.
- Ehrlich, David (November 15, 2017). "Zack Snyder Movies Ranked from Worst to Best". IndieWire. Retrieved March 22, 2021.
- Miller, Matt (March 18, 2021). "Every Zack Snyder Movie Ranked From Worst to Best". Esquire. Retrieved March 22, 2021.
- White, Armond (January 8, 2020). "Best Movies of the Decade". National Review.
- Outlaw, Kofi (February 20, 2017). "James Cameron Praises Zack Snyder's Movies". ComicBook.com.
- Newsweek Staff (March 7, 2009). "A Life in Movies: Zack Snyder". Newsweek.
- Russell, Calum (July 14, 2022). "Zack Snyder names his five favourite films of all time". Far Out.
- Louie, Elaine (October 3, 2004). "WEDDINGS/CELEBRATIONS: VOWS; Deborah Johnson and Zack Snyder – New York Times". The New York Times. Retrieved July 25, 2010.
- Lovece, Frank (February 19, 2009). "CGI: 'Watchmen'--Zack Snyder brings superhero saga to the finish line". Film Journal International. Retrieved February 19, 2009.
- "Zack Snyder Was Worried WB Would Sue Him if He Voiced Support for Snyder Cut Movement". DC.
- Pollock, Sarabeth (March 20, 2021). "Zack Snyder's Justice League features billboard for suicide prevention". Culturess. Retrieved August 23, 2021.
- O'Connell, Sean (March 18, 2021). "Justice League's Debbie Snyder Shares A Beautiful Story Behind The Movie's American Foundation For Suicide Prevention Easter Egg". CINEMABLEND. Retrieved August 23, 2021.
- Acuna, Kirsten. "A billboard you might have missed in 'Zack Snyder's Justice League' has a double meaning for fans". Insider. Retrieved September 15, 2021.
- Kanski, Alison (May 21, 2018). "'300' director Zack Snyder takes Leukemia & Lymphoma Society campaign in bolder direction". PRWeek. Retrieved March 23, 2021.
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- "Zack Snyder Denies His Films Have A Right-Wing Agenda". Screen Rant. May 21, 2021. Retrieved May 22, 2021.
- "Zack Snyder, Dwayne Johnson Back Biden". Cosmic Book News. October 17, 2020. Retrieved May 22, 2021.
- Shoard, Catherine (May 20, 2021). "Zack Snyder: 'I don't have a rightwing political agenda. People see what they want to see'". The Guardian. Retrieved May 20, 2021.
- "Started shooting #RebelMoon #stonequarry @netflixfilm bad ass pic of @djimon_hounsou courtesy of #zacksnyder #snydercut #LFG!!!!". Instagram. April 20, 2022. Retrieved April 20, 2022.
- "Zack Snyder's Rebel Moon 2 Releases On Netflix Just 5 Months After First Movie". Screen Rant. August 22, 2023.
- Otterson, Joe (May 3, 2023). "Zack Snyder's Netflix Animated Series 'Twilight of the Gods' Brings on Xilam as Animation Studio". Variety.
- Robinson, Jacob (June 10, 2021). "Zack Snyder Norse Anime 'Twilight of the Gods': Cast Reveal & What We Know So Far".
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- "EB Beer "Generals' Party"". YouTube. Archived from the original on December 21, 2021.