2. Michael Mann
Mann is one of Robert De Niro's favourite directors. But I guess when someone makes you look as good as Mann makes Bobby look in Heat, it's easy understand why.
Often when we reflect on Mann's work, we'd be forgiven for thinking of the neon lights and glass bricks that populate so much of his work. But he's a stylish director, often using the colour blue for dramatic reasons. Using the camera in surprising and dramatic ways, he invites the audience straight into the action. So it'll come as no surprise that, unlike most directors, he likes to operate the camera himself to get much of his own photography in. In Heat, for example, he shot almost 60 percent of the film.
A student of London's International Film School, Mann began his career in the late '70s, writing for TV shows like Starsky and Hutch. He directed his first film, the award-winning drama prison drama, The Jericho Mile for TV in 1979. He followed that with his first theatrical release, Thief, starring James Caan as a safecracker who falls under the spell of the mob.
Then came one of his finest early films - The Keep. This is an adaptation of a novel about a mysterious force within a Nazi fortress starring a young Ian McKellen.
Then Mann hit it big in 1984, when he produced and created the long-running TV series, Miami Vice, which unfortunately made Don Johnson a household name. He's since filled his score card with classy action flicks such as The Last of the Mohicans (no neon in that one), Heat and Collateral. Things came as Mann directed the big-screen remake of Miami Vice, staring Colin Farrell and Jamie Foxx as Crockett and Tubbs.
Finest Action Moment:
Machine gun ballet on the streets of LA in Heat.
The Keep (1983)
Little Known Fact:
In 1985, Mann sued The Exorcist director, William Friedkin for plagiarism, claiming Friedkin stole the entire concept of Miami Vice when he made the movie To Live and Die in LA.
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