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A DOG'S PURPOSE

One of the world's most renowned directors, LASSE HALLSTROM (Directed by) is best known to audiences as the maker of such poignant but resolutely unsentimental films as My Life as a Dog, What's Eating Gilbert Grape and The Cider House Rules.

The son of an amateur filmmaker, Hallstrom was born in Stockholm on June 2, 1946. He began his professional career in high school when, with the assistance of a group of friends, he made a short film about some schoolmates who had formed a band.

In 1975, Hallstrom made his debut with the romantic drama A Guy and a Gal. Two years later, he focused his lens on one of Sweden's most famous exports in ABBA: The Movie. He subsequently made a number of romantic comedies; but it was not until 1985, with My Life as a Dog, that Hallstrom had his international breakthrough. A bona fide art-house hit, My Life as a Dog was the touching and wholly un-patronizing coming-of-age story of a young boy sent to live with relatives when his terminally ill mother can no longer care for him. The film earned a score of international honors, including the Best Foreign Film at the Golden Globe Awards and a New York Film Critics Circle award. Hallstrom received Oscar nominations for Best Director and Best Adapted Screenplay.

Following the success of My Life as a Dog, Hallstrom remained in Sweden making films. In 1991, he came to the U.S. and made his stateside debut with Once Around. A romantic comedy, which starred Holly Hunter and Richard Dreyfuss, it enjoyed a favorable reception. Two years later, the director's international reputation was further solidified with the film What's Eating Gilbert Grape. The film centered around the travails of the title character (played by Johnny Depp), a young man longing for change from his mundane, everyday existence. It featured strong performances all around, particularly from Depp and a then-unknown Leonardo DiCaprio, who earned Oscar and Golden Globe Award nominations for his portrayal of Gilbert's mentally handicapped younger brother.

Hallstrom's follow-ups to Gilbert were Something to Talk About (1995), and an adaptation of John Irving's The Cider House Rules (1999). The latter, featured a script by Irving and starred Tobey Maguire, Charlize Theron and Michael Caine. Hallstrom was also nominated for an Academy Award for Best Director for the film. The following year Hallstrom scored yet another art-house hit with the romantic comedy drama Chocolat. The tale of a small-town candymaker who shakes up her community by staying open on Sundays earned numerous award nominations, including four Golden Globe Award nominations and five Oscar nominations. In 2001, Hallstrom's pace showed no signs of lagging with the release of The Shipping News, which earned positive critical notice and earned a healthy keep at art-house box offices. His recent credits also include An Unfinished Life (2005), Casanova (2005) and Dear John (2010). Dear John, adapted from the novel by Nicholas Sparks, starred Channing Tatum and Amanda Seyfried and made a strong box-office performance, knocking off Avatar after seven weekends at No. 1. His next film, Salmon Fishing in the Yemen, which starred Ewan McGregor and Emily Blunt, premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival and was released by CBS Films. Also in 2011, Hallstrom directed the thriller The Hypnotist, which was Sweden's Oscar entry for 2012. In 2013, he directed Safe Haven, based on the novel of the same name by Sparks, which tells the story of a young woman with a mysterious past who bonds with a widower and is forced to confront the dark secret that haunts her. The film grossed $97 million worldwide, making it one of the highest grossing Sparks films of all time. Hallstrom subsequently directed Walt Disney Pictures' The Hundred-Foot Journey, which garnered broad critical acclaim and a Golden Globe Award nomination for Helen Mirren's performance as a Michelin star chef.

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