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STEPHEN FREARS is one of Britain's most distinctive and provocative directors. Born in Leicester in 1941, he studied law at Cambridge University before working in the theatre as Lindsay Anderson's assistant at London's Royal Court. He began his career in the film industry as an assistant director to Karel Reisz. In 1971, Stephen made his feature debut with the detective drama GUMSHOE starring Albert Finney. He then worked mainly in television, until 1985, when he had his breakthrough with the low budget hit MY BEAUTIFUL LAUNDERETTE.

Written by Hanif Kureishi and produced by Channel 4, the film was an entertaining and edgy depiction of a gay relationship between a young Pakistani and a London street punk (a then unknown Daniel Day-Lewis) which explored the issues of homosexuality, racism and the politics of 1980s. Initially intended for television, the film was given an international release and became a critical and commercial success.

Stephen's interest in characters who challenge sexual and social stereotypes continued through his next two films: PRICK UP YOUR EARS (1987), the acclaimed film about the celebrated and controversial English playwright Joe Orton starring Gary Oldman, Alfred Molina and Vanessa Redgrave; and SAMMY AND ROSIE GET LAID (1987), his second collaboration with Kureishi, which looked at cross-cultural relationships and conflict between generations in a riot-torn London.

Stephen then made his Hollywood debut with the dazzling DANGEROUS LIAISONS (1998), which earned him a BAFTA nomination for Best Director. The Oscar®-winning script by Christopher Hampton was based on a 1782 novel and the film contained stunning lead performances from John Malkovich and Glenn Close, the latter earning an Oscar® nomination for her portrayal of the scheming Marquise de Merteuil.

Stephen followed this in 1990 with the equally successful and stylish THE GRIFTERS, produced by Martin Scorsese, which gained him an Oscar® nomination for Best Director in 1991. Starring John Cusack, Anjelica Huston and Annette Bening as three con artists, the film confirmed Stephen's reputation as one of the most talented British directors of his generation.

Stephen has continued to work in both Britain and America. The satirical fable HERO (1992) starred Dustin Hoffman, Geena Davis and Andy Garcia whilst MARY REILLY (1996), Stephen's take on the Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde story, allowed him to work again with the DANGEROUS LIAISONS combination of writer Christopher Hampton, actors John Malkovich and Glenn Close, and producer Norma Heyman. During the same period he also completed two entertaining feelgood Roddy Doyle adaptations, The Snapper (1993) and THE VAN (1996).

After his elegiac 20th century western THE HI-LO COUNTRY (1998) which starred Woody Harrelson, Billy Crudup, Penelope Cruz and Patricia Arquette, he returned to more familiar territory with HIGH FIDELITY, a humorous look at the nature of commitment. Adapted from Nick Hornby's popular novel of the same name, it re-teamed him with John Cusack who played the lead and co-wrote the script.

In 2000, Stephen collaborated with the respected TV writer, Jimmy McGovern, on the tender but tragic drama LIAM, which followed the misfortunes of a working class Liverpool family between the wards. This was followed by the highly acclaimed DIRTY PRETTY THINGS (2002), a drama- thriller about illegal immigrants surviving in London. Amongst the many awards the film gathered were Best Director at the British Independent Film Awards (2003), Best British Film at the Evening Standard Awards (2003) and an Oscar® nomination for the writer Stephen Knight (2004).

In 2003, Stephen returned to British television to direct The Deal which looked at a pivotal moment in the relationship between Gordon Brown and Tony Blair and w

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