Born: 2 January 1961
Birthplace: Los Angeles, California
Best known as: The director of Far From Heaven and TV's Mildred Pierce
Todd Haynes is the independent, idiosyncratic filmmaker who did Far From Heaven and I'm Not There, that movie where Cate Blanchett pretty much plays Bob Dylan. A 1985 graduate of Brown University (where he studied art and semiotics), Haynes began his film career while earning a graduate degree from Bard College. His 1987 short film, Superstar: The Karen Carpenter Story, was a controversial biopic of the pop singer that used Barbie dolls; the film gained cult status after Haynes was legally barred from distributing it (he'd not secured the rights to the music). His first feature film was 1991's Poison, a critically acclaimed set of stories that briefly earned Haynes a reputation as a leader in what's called New Queer Cinema. With 1995's Safe, Haynes began his long working relationship with star Julianne Moore and continued to explore themes of identity and alienation. Haynes then turned to pop music and made Velvet Goldmine (1998), an ambitious tribute to glam-rock and David Bowie that starred Christian Bale, Ewan McGregor and Jonathan Rhys Meyers. Despite the pedigreed cast, the film was a bust. But Haynes bounced way back with 2002's Far From Heaven, a drama that brought four Oscar nominations, including one for his screenplay. Haynes then made a movie about Bob Dylan's music, 2007's I'm Not There, a non-narrative, impressionistic film that used different actors to portray the film's protagonist. Although the film wasn't a hit at the box office, it furthered the critics' love of his ability to work the fine line between mainstream and art house movies. Todd Haynes adapted the James M. Cain novel Mildred Pierce in 2011 for an HBO mini-series starring Kate Winslet and Melissa Leo.
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