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In this video, we take a look at the offbeat career of Oscar Award Winning writer and director Robert Zemeckis.
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An Overview of Director Robert Zemeckis Career
His films have increasingly emphasized the use of special effects in order to bring his stories to life. Welcome to WatchMojo.com and today we’ll be exploring the career of writer and director Robert Zemeckis. Born to a working class family in 1952 the Chicago native developed an early fascination with the television screen. As a result he spent his childhood towing away with his parents 8 millimeter movie camera.
A hobby that would later inspire him to abandon his blue collar upbringing despite the wishes of his parents. Zemeckis went on to study at Southern California School of Cinematic Arts where one of his student films caught the eye of Steven Spielberg who decided to take him under his wing. He then helped Zemeckis land the deal writing a screenplay for 1941 a movie which Spielberg himself directed in 1979.
Zemeckis made his directorial debut in 1978 with the film “I Want to Hold your Hand” which he followed with 1980’s Used Cars. Both features we’re co-written with his partner Bob Gale and despite a warm critical reception they suffered humiliating box office defeats. After a long period of difficulty finding work Zemeckis was hired by Michael Douglas to direct the romantic adventure, “Romancing the Stone.” A lack luster first impression of the film by studio executives causes them to predict it would flop.
Miraculously, Romancing the Stone turned into a sleeper hit. Its success inspired the studio to finance his Back to the Future screenplay. Originally Zemeckis had trouble finding a studio to pickup the off beat script. The film went on to have a large cultural impact and was instantly successful at the box office.
Universal Studios immediately urge Zemeckis to begin preproduction on two sequels which he would direct and co-write. After he finished tackling the visually complex 1988 film who framed Roger Rabbit following an urge to continue producing wacky yet visually spending film, Zemeckis directed the dark comedy Death Becomes Her which started Bruce Willis, Meryl Streep and Goldie Hawn. The film was visually complex project and is first to include more dramatic elements.
However, he would only double in serious horror with 2000’s “What Lies Beneath?” Zemeckis has had his most high profile success in 1994 when he unleashed the world wide phenomenon Forrest Gump an offbeat tale of a dumb man who unwillingly played a role in many of the mid 20th Centuries key historic moments.
The film pushed visual effects in ways that had not been attempted before. It made extensive use of CGI and archive footage to allow Gump to meet deceased presidents and even shake their hands. Forrest Gump won six Academy Awards and earned Zemeckis the title of Best Director. While earning an unprecedented $677 million worldwide, Zemeckis would later reuse Tom Hanks to give heart to his reflective film Castaway. Zemeckis’ love for bringing effects to the screen led him to coordinate with eight separate visual effect studios while producing 1997 sci-fi film Contact. This shift from relaying heavily on industrial light and magic showed Zemeckis’ unhappiness with limitations he faced with 2D special effects. This led Zemeckis to produce 3D films as of 2004 with the Polar Express followed by 2007’s Bay Wolf and 2009’s “A Christmas Carol” starring Jim Carrey. Zemeckis is currently attached to producing a 3D remake of the animated Beetles classic Yellow Submarine for a 2012 release.