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STATE AND MAIN

Playwright, director, essayist, novelist, poet DAVID MAMET is one of America's most important and influential weavers of stories about loyalty and deceit. Time has called him an American Harold Pinter - "Funnier, raunchier, with a keener sense of the particularities of time and place."

Mamet was born in Chicago to parents of Russian Jewish extraction on November 30, 1947. His father was a labor lawyer, his mother a teacher. He attended Goddard College in Vermont, where he later taught acting. In 1972, he formed the St. Nicholas Company at Goddard with two of his acting students (William H. Macy was one) and then moved it to Chicago between 1973 and 1977. There, at age 24, he began attracting serious acclaim for his unique staccato, highly cadenced use of dialogue, peppered with a liberal quantity of brutal language. When asked about his celebrated use of obscenity in his work, Mamet once said, "In my family, in the days prior to television, we liked to while away the evenings by making ourselves miserable, solely based on our ability to speak the language viciously." His ear for the slippery codes of idiosyncratic vernacular was also honed during a rebellious youth, a variety of jobs (estate agent, truck driver, office cleaner, carpet salesman, window cleaner, sailor) and the impact of discovering such authors as Frank Norris, Willa Cather and, above all, Theodore Dreiser. But Mamet's writing was also deeply influenced by the spare poetry of Samuel Beckett and Harold Pinter, with whom he shares a writerly precision and an artful use of the pause.

State and Main is Mamet's seventh film as writer-director after his critically acclaimed debut film, House of Games, selected to close the New York Film Festival in 1987. He followed with the gentle Mafia fable, Things Change (co-written with Shel Silverstein), for which Joe Mantegna and Don Ameche shared Best Actor honors at the 1988 Venice Film Festival; Homicide, which opened the 1991 Cannes Film Festival; Oleanna, in 1994, the sole film he has adapted and directed from one of his plays; The Spanish Prisoner, his acclaimed Hitchcockian thriller which became one of the most popular independent films of 1998; and most recently, The Winslow Boy, an adaptation of the famed Terence Rattigan play, starring Nigel Hawthorne, Jeremy Northam and Rebecca Pidgeon.

Mamet currently divides his time between homes in Cambridge, Massachusetts and Vermont, which he shares with his wife and daughter Clara and son Noah. (He has two other daughters, Willa and Zosia, from his previous marriage to Lindsay Crouse). He recently directed Harold Pinter, Rebecca Pidgeon and the late John Gielgud in 'Catastrophe' - an installment of the Beckett Project, where 19 Beckett plays have been filmed for television by various celebrated directors. Among his many upcoming projects is a new Broadway production with card-wizard Ricky Jay, and the film Heist starring Gene Hackman, Delroy Lindo and Danny DeVito which he is currently directing from his screenplay.

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