Jan De Bont
October 22, 1943
Director, Director of photography
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Dutchman Jan de Bont began his Hollywood career as a cinematographer on the likes of "The Jewel of the Nile" (1985) and "Die Hard" (1988) before becoming a crowd-pleasing action movie director himself with box office hits "Speed" (1994) and "Twister" (1996). Born one of 17 children in Eindhoven, Netherlands in 1943, Jan de Bont studied under celebrated avant-garde director Adriaan Ditvoorst at the Amsterdam Film Academy, going on to serve as cinematographer on his short film "Ik kom wat later naar Madra" (1965) and feature-length drama "Paranoia" (1967). Jan de Bont soon forged another more enduring partnership, this time with Paul Verhoeven, which began on the Oscar-nominated "Turkish Delight" (1973) and took in "Keetje Tippel" (1975), "The Fourth Man" (1983), "Flesh and Blood" (1985) and "Basic Instinct" (1992). By the time of the latter erotic thriller's release, du Bont had established himself as Hollywood's premier action movie cinematographer, with "Cujo" (1983), "The Jewel of the Nile" (1985), "Die Hard" (1988), "Black Rain" (1989), "The Hunt for Red October" (1990) and "Lethal Weapon 3" (1992) all benefiting from his slick and stylish techniques. Inspired by his work with the likes of Ridley Scott, Joel Schumacher and John McTiernan, de Bont then took the director's chair himself for the first time with "Speed" (1994), the high concept action thriller which helped to launch Sandra Bullock's career. The Dutchman then continued his early winning streak with "Twister" (1996), the blockbuster disaster movie which grossed almost half a billion dollars worldwide. But du Bont's attempt to strike lightning twice failed when "Speed 2: Cruise Control" (1997) bombed with both audiences and critics alike, while "The Haunting" (1999), his remake of the same-named classic horror, suffered a similar fate. Jan de Bont then added producer to his of talents with the sci-fi films "Equilibrium" (2002) and "Minority Report" (2002) before returning to directing on "Lara Croft: Tomb Raider - The Cradle of Life" (2003). Jan de Bont then quit Hollywood, and the film world altogether, for nearly a decade before serving as cinematographer on Louis van Gasteren's counter-culture retrospective "Nema aviona za Zagreb" (2012).