May 26, 1963
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Brash, enthusiastic and sometimes controversial, multi-award-winning commercial director Marcus Nispel waited 15 years to direct his first feature film, the low-budget remake of the horror classic "The Texas Chainsaw Massacre" (2003). Not for lack of offers: the prolific director of commercials and music videos had been approached to make $100 million blockbusters in the past, but in order to avoid being just another cog in the machine, he made sure that his first film would something he wanted to do. In the meantime, Nispel racked up award after award for his work on hundreds commercials and music videos.Originally from Germany, Nispel got his start as an art director in the Frankfurt branch of Young & Rubicam, a global marketing and communications group. Nispel came to America in 1984 on a Fulbright Scholarship at age 20 and made his directorial debut on a series of music videos for C&C Music Factory, including "Gonna Make You Sweat" and "Things That Make You Go Hmmm " Nispel directed videos for many other famous artists, a few of which hit #1, including "Greedy Fly" for Bush, "Turn The Beat Around" for Gloria Estefan and "Spice Up Your Life" for the Spice Girls. Ambitious from the get-go, Nispel's hard work paid off. He received twelve MTV Music Award nominations, with four wins, including an MTV Best European Video Award for "Killer/Papa Was A Rolling Stone," by George Michael. In 2001, Nispel won the MVPA Lifetime Achievement Award, a top award given to music video professionals by Kodak. Nispel was equally as prolific in the commercial sector, directing hundreds of spots for AT&T, Coca-Cola, Levi's, Pepsi and UPS. And in keeping with his success as a music video director, Nispel was showered with numerous awards for his work, including several Clios, a Mobius Award, the Grand Prix at the BDA Awards, as well as honors from the New York, Houston and Chicago Film Festivals and the Art Directors Club, an international not-for-profit group of creative professionals engaged in all facets of visual communications. Nispel then took his first tentative steps into the film world when he inked a deal to direct Arnold Schwarzenegger in "End of Days" (1998). However, he backed out a month before principal photography due to "artistic differences." It would be a few years until Nispel would get another shot to direct a feature. This time, Jerry Bruckheimer protégé Michael Bay acted as producer and hired Nispel to direct the remake of "The Texas Chainsaw Massacre." Made for far less than the $100 million tagged to "End of Days," Nispel relished the opportunity, despite being under the thumb of producer Bay. In the movie, actress Jessica Biel starred as one of five 20-somethings whose free-spirited road trip becomes a terrifying descent into madness when they meet the chainsaw-wielding Leatherface. What attracted Nispel to the project was the chance to explore the past of the real-life killer, Ed Gein, the inspiration for the original movie and for Alfred Hitchcock's "Psycho" (although the events of all three films are extremely fictionalized and bear little resemblance to the true story). The result of Nispel's typically frenzied work days-for him and his crew-was a number one opening at the box office with over $28 million in receipts.