May 20, 1948
London, United Kingdom
Director, Producer, Composer, Literary manager, Story editor
PhotosView All (2)
An acclaimed British TV director, notably of Dennis Potter's surreal musical mystery drama "The Singing Detective" (BBC, 1986-87; PBS 1988), Jon Amiel successfully segued to features, gaining notice and accolades for "Queen of Hearts" (1989), a charming saga of an Italian immigrant family transplanted to England as seen through the eyes of a child. This beguiling blend of comedy, fantasy and drama lit the way to the US, where Amiel directed Peter Falk and Barbara Hershey in "Tune in Tomorrow" (1990), a light-hearted romp that took place in and around a New Orleans radio show.Amiel entered show business as a composer for the London stage. After college, he was hired to select plays for the Hampstead Theatre Club, a leading London venue for new playwrights, where he began directing. Amiel also directed for the Royal Shakespeare Company before becoming a story editor for the BBC. A three-month directing course led to a successful career as a director of TV dramas, notably the award-winning "Romance Romance" (1984).Amiel has stated, "I'm drawn like a moth to a candle to the unusual, the elliptical, the provocative." This quality was evident in his US debut, "The Luck Child" (NBC, 1988), an episode of Jim Henson's children's fantasy TV series, "The Storyteller," but was somewhat lacking in his first Hollywood commercial success, the period romance "Sommersby" (1993). An attractive production boasting the stellar pairing of Jodie Foster and Richard Gere, this remake of the 1982 French hit, "The Return of Martin Guerre," was a fairly standard, well-made studio melodrama."Copycat" (1995) was a derivative thriller featuring strong women (Sigourney Weaver as an agoraphobic psychologist; Holly Hunter as a dedicated police detective) but an improbable story. Amiel was successful in establishing the mood of the piece by using odd camera angles and was aided immensely by Laszlo Kovacs' camera work and Christopher Young's score. The director elicited fine performances from the two leading ladies, who worked hard to cover the plot holes.