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).

Zack Snyder
Snyder at the 2016 San Diego Comic-Con
Zachary Edward Snyder

(1966-03-01) March 1, 1966 (age 57)
EducationArt Center College of Design (BFA)
  • Film director
  • film producer
  • screenwriter
  • cinematographer
Years active1990–present
Political partyDemocratic
  • Denise Weber (divorced)
  • (m. 2004)

In 2004, he founded the production company The Stone Quarry (formerly known as Cruel and Unusual Films) alongside his wife Deborah Snyder and producing partner Wesley Coller.

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),[2] 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.[3][4][5] Marsha always nurtured her son's artistic side, buying him his first film camera. He grew up in Greenwich, Connecticut.[6] He has an older sister, Audrey, and was raised as a Christian Scientist.[7] He also had a brother, Sam, who died when Snyder was a teenager.[8]

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.[9] 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.[6] Afterward, Snyder attended Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, California.[9] He graduated with a BFA in film in 1989.[10]

The production notes for Snyder's first film Dawn of the Dead describes Snyder as "a comic book and horror film enthusiast in his youth".[11]

Career edit

Snyder at Sydney premiere for Man of Steel

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,[12] 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.[13] Snyder directed Warner Bros.' 2017 Justice League, but he exited during post-production to deal with the death of his daughter, Autumn Snyder.[14][15] His replacement was Joss Whedon.[15][1]

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.[16] 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.[17]

On May 20, 2020, Snyder announced that Zack Snyder's Justice League would be released on the streaming service HBO Max in 2021.[18] The film was released on March 18, 2021.

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.[19] Filming began in April 2022 and lasted until November that year, with the project being developed as a two-part film.[20][21]

Snyder will produce Twilight of the Gods, an anime-style web series inspired by Norse mythology for Netflix.[22] Snyder is also developing a King Arthur film, which he said will be a "faithful retelling".[23] It will be set during the American Gold rush era.[24]

Following Rebel Moon, Snyder will return to direct Planet of the Dead, a sequel to Army of the Dead.[25] He also signed a first-look deal with Netflix.[26]

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.[27]

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.[6]

Filmmaking edit

Style edit

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.[28]

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'."[29]

The Netflix production Army of the Dead was a special project for Snyder as he served as his own cinematographer, as well as this being his first film shot digitally.[30]

Reception edit

Snyder has been described as one of the most polarizing directors of modern cinema.[31][32] 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?"[31] Film critic Armond White listed Snyder as one of the four best filmmakers of the 2010s.[33] Director James Cameron praised Snyder, listing him as one of the filmmakers who created their own "cinematic language".[34]

Personal life edit

In 2009, Snyder listed Excalibur, Mad Max 2, A Clockwork Orange, Blue Velvet, and RoboCop as his five favorite films.[35][36]

Family 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.[37][38] 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.[7] 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.[15][1]

Philanthropy edit

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.[39]

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.[40][41][42]

Snyder directed 2 PSAs for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society in 2018.[43]

In 2021, Snyder partnered with Save the Children, a global child rights organization, to build a 100-bed temporary hospital facility in Delhi to help fight the COVID-19 pandemic in India.[44]

Political views edit

Although his films have been critiqued as having "right-wing" messages,[45] politically, Snyder is a Democrat. He endorsed Joe Biden in the 2020 presidential election.[46] 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.[47]

Filmography edit

Films edit

Snyder at 2013 San Diego Comic-Con
Year Title Credited as Notes
Director Writer Producer DoP
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
2009 Watchmen Yes No No No
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
2018 Aquaman No No Executive No
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[48] Co-wrote with Kurt Johnstad and Shay Hatten
2024 Rebel Moon – Part Two: The Scargiver Yes Yes Yes Yes[49]

Short films edit

Year Title Credited as Notes
Director Writer Producer DoP
1990 Playground Yes No No No Direct-to-video documentary
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

Year Artist Song
1989 Lizzy Borden "Love Is a Crime"
1992 Peter Murphy "You're So Close"
Morrissey "Tomorrow"
Soul Asylum "Somebody to Shove"
1993 "Black Gold"
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"

Television edit

Year Title Credited as Notes
Director Writer Executive
2022 Teen Titans Go! No No No No Episode: "365!"; guest star
TBA Twilight of the Gods Yes Yes Yes Yes[50] In production[51]

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.[52] He also won the Society of British Advertisers Award for Humor for his controversial EB Beer commercial "General's Party".[53][54]

Year Award Category Nominee Result
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

Notes edit

  1. ^ 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.[1][15][18]
  2. ^ Snyder shot four to five minutes of additional footage in late 2020 for his cut.[1][15][18]

References edit

  1. ^ a b c d e "Justice League: Zack Snyder quits movie after daughter kills herself". The Guardian. May 23, 2017. Retrieved February 13, 2019.
  2. ^ "Marsha Manley Snyder". geni_family_tree. Retrieved February 23, 2020.
  3. ^ Everhart, Bill (March 8, 2007). "Fan makes a film". The Berkshire Eagle. Retrieved October 8, 2013.
  4. ^ "Marsha Snyder Obituary – Pittsfield, MA". The Berkshire Eagle. Retrieved August 8, 2015.
  5. ^ "The North Adams Transcript from North Adams, Massachusetts · Page 15". May 5, 1958. Archived from the original on December 8, 2015. Retrieved August 8, 2015.
  6. ^ a b c Kit, Borys (November 29, 2023). "Zack Snyder's Next Cut: No Capes Allowed". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved November 29, 2023.
  7. ^ a b Louie, Elaine (February 18, 2011). "Off Screen, a Long-Running Romance". The New York Times. Retrieved October 2, 2014.
  8. ^ Zack Snyder Answers the Web's Most Searched Questions | WIRED, retrieved May 23, 2021
  9. ^ a b Leonard, Devin (March 1, 2016). "Zack Snyder's Superhero Life". Bloomberg News. Retrieved March 1, 2016.
  10. ^ "Zack Snyder". ArtCenter College of Design.
  11. ^ "Dawn of the Dead - Production Notes". Media Atlantis. Universal Pictures. Retrieved April 26, 2021.
  12. ^ "Zack Snyder: Watchmen". SuicideGirls. March 5, 2009. Retrieved March 5, 2009.
  13. ^ Fischer, Russ (July 20, 2013). "Zack Snyder Will Direct Superman/Batman Movie Inspired by Frank Miller's 'The Dark Knight Returns'". /Film. Retrieved July 20, 2013.
  14. ^ Fritz, Ben (April 26, 2014). "Warner Bros. Plans 'Justice League' Movie Directed by Zack Snyder (Exclusive)". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved April 27, 2014.
  15. ^ a b c d e Kit, Borys (May 22, 2017). "Zack Snyder Steps Down From 'Justice League' to Deal With Family Tragedy". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved September 23, 2018.
  16. ^ "Zack Snyder Returning to Movies With Zombie Action Pic 'Army of the Dead' (Exclusive)". The Hollywood Reporter. January 29, 2019. Retrieved January 31, 2019.
  17. ^ 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.
  18. ^ a b c ""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.
  19. ^ "Zack Snyder Sets Next Movie, Sci-Fi Adventure 'Rebel Moon', at Netflix (Exclusive)". The Hollywood Reporter. July 6, 2021. Retrieved July 6, 2021.
  20. ^ 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.
  21. ^ Squires, John (April 20, 2022). "Zack Snyder's Sci-fi Epic 'Rebel Moon' Has Begun Filming". Bloody Disgusting. Retrieved April 20, 2022.
  22. ^ Gemmill, Allie (July 11, 2019). "Zack Snyder Set to Produce a Netflix Anime Series About Norse Mythology". Collider. Retrieved January 9, 2021.
  23. ^ "Zack Snyder says he is developing a King Arthur movie". The New Indian Express. Retrieved July 1, 2021.
  24. ^ "Zack Snyder Is Writing His King Arthur Movie Set During The Gold Rush". Screen Rant. May 20, 2021. Retrieved July 1, 2021.
  25. ^ 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.
  26. ^ "Zack Snyder Signs First-Look Deal With Netflix". Movies. Retrieved July 22, 2021.
  27. ^ "Zack Snyder's New Movie Horse Latitudes Has to Wait Longer". Screen Rant. May 10, 2021.
  28. ^ Nicholson, Amy (February 26, 2009). "Slow and Steady". Box Office Magazine. Archived from the original on March 3, 2009. Retrieved March 28, 2016.
  29. ^ Staskiewicz, Keith (July 2, 2015). "Zack Snyder defends Man of Steel ending". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved August 3, 2020.
  30. ^ 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.
  31. ^ a b Ehrlich, David (November 15, 2017). "Zack Snyder Movies Ranked from Worst to Best". IndieWire. Retrieved March 22, 2021.
  32. ^ Miller, Matt (March 18, 2021). "Every Zack Snyder Movie Ranked From Worst to Best". Esquire. Retrieved March 22, 2021.
  33. ^ White, Armond (January 8, 2020). "Best Movies of the Decade". National Review.
  34. ^ Outlaw, Kofi (February 20, 2017). "James Cameron Praises Zack Snyder's Movies".
  35. ^ Newsweek Staff (March 7, 2009). "A Life in Movies: Zack Snyder". Newsweek.
  36. ^ Russell, Calum (July 14, 2022). "Zack Snyder names his five favourite films of all time". Far Out.
  37. ^ Louie, Elaine (October 3, 2004). "WEDDINGS/CELEBRATIONS: VOWS; Deborah Johnson and Zack Snyder – New York Times". The New York Times. Retrieved July 25, 2010.
  38. ^ Lovece, Frank (February 19, 2009). "CGI: 'Watchmen'--Zack Snyder brings superhero saga to the finish line". Film Journal International. Retrieved February 19, 2009.
  39. ^ "Zack Snyder Was Worried WB Would Sue Him if He Voiced Support for Snyder Cut Movement". DC.
  40. ^ Pollock, Sarabeth (March 20, 2021). "Zack Snyder's Justice League features billboard for suicide prevention". Culturess. Retrieved August 23, 2021.
  41. ^ 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.
  42. ^ 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.
  43. ^ Kanski, Alison (May 21, 2018). "'300' director Zack Snyder takes Leukemia & Lymphoma Society campaign in bolder direction". PRWeek. Retrieved March 23, 2021.
  44. ^ Hirwani, Peony (May 11, 2021). "Zack Snyder joins forces with Indian actor Huma Qureshi to build 100-bed temporary hospital facility in Delhi". The Independent. Archived from the original on May 7, 2022. Retrieved May 11, 2021.
  45. ^ "Zack Snyder Denies His Films Have A Right-Wing Agenda". Screen Rant. May 21, 2021. Retrieved May 22, 2021.
  46. ^ "Zack Snyder, Dwayne Johnson Back Biden". Cosmic Book News. October 17, 2020. Retrieved May 22, 2021.
  47. ^ 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.
  48. ^ "Started shooting #RebelMoon #stonequarry @netflixfilm bad ass pic of @djimon_hounsou courtesy of #zacksnyder #snydercut #LFG!!!!". Instagram. April 20, 2022. Retrieved April 20, 2022.
  49. ^ "Zack Snyder's Rebel Moon 2 Releases On Netflix Just 5 Months After First Movie". Screen Rant. August 22, 2023.
  50. ^ Otterson, Joe (May 3, 2023). "Zack Snyder's Netflix Animated Series 'Twilight of the Gods' Brings on Xilam as Animation Studio". Variety.
  51. ^ Robinson, Jacob (June 10, 2021). "Zack Snyder Norse Anime 'Twilight of the Gods': Cast Reveal & What We Know So Far".
  52. ^ "Zack Snyder". Retrieved June 8, 2021.
  53. ^ "Music and Sound for Picture". Hayden Clement.
  54. ^ "EB Beer "Generals' Party"". YouTube. Archived from the original on December 21, 2021.

External links edit