THE SKELETON KEY
IAIN SOFTLEY (Director/Producer) has aimed to carry audiences into unfamiliar terrain, from the prehistory of The Beatles to the sexual politics of post-Victorian Europe.
His most recent film, Universal Pictures' K-PAX (2001), featured commanding performances from Kevin Spacey and Jeff Bridges. Softley's unique ability to bring the written word to life was first demonstrated in 1997 with The Wings of the Dove for Miramax, a bracingly accessible adaptation of the Henry James novel starring Helena Bonham Carter, Linus Roache and Alison Elliott. It became one of the year's most critically acclaimed films, earning four Academy AwardÂ® nominations and garnering Bonham Carter honors from the Critics' Circle, the Boston Society of Film Critics, the Toronto Film Critics Association and the London Film Critics Circle.
Born and raised in West London, Softley took an early interest in painting, photography and music. He went on to study English literature at Cambridge University, where he began directing local theater productions. After graduating in 1979, Softley spent the next six years as a filmmaker for Granada Television and the BBC, directing a range of documentaries about the arts, music and popular culture. He left the BBC in 1986 to concentrate on writing, but continued as an independent music video and television director, winning a Gold Hugo Award for an arts documentary at the 1991 Chicago Film Festival.
Softley made a memorable feature debut in 1993, writing and directing Backbeat, a refreshingly atmospheric account of the Beatle's early phase in Germany and the love triangle that developed between John Lennon (Ian Hart), bassist Stuart Sutcliffe (Stephen Dorff) and German photographer Astrid Kirchherr (Sheryl Lee).
That was followed in 1995 by MGM's Hackers, a visually ambitious romantic thriller about a group of anarchic young computer hackers, starring Johnny Lee Miller, Fisher Stevens, Lorraine Bracco and, in their first major film roles, Angelina Jolie and Matthew Lillard.
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