Curtis Hanson, director of 8 Mile and Wonder Boys, has passed away

Last Updated on July 31, 2021

Curtis Hanson, the Oscar-winning writer/director of L.A. CONFIDENTIAL, 8 MILE, IN HER SHOES and WONDER BOYS has died. TMZ reports that he passed away due to “natural causes. He was 71.

The filmmaker suffered for many years with Alzheimer’s, and since retired from the film community in 2011. The last film he worked on was the surfing drama CHASING MAVERICKS, which Hanson had to drop out of, and was replaced by Michael Apted. But despite the fact he wasn’t able to do anything recently that doesn’t mean he didn't leave behind an incredible body of work.

His defining feature will always be L.A. CONFIDENTIAL, the searing, terrificallyacted neo-noir detective story. Not only does it feature an Oscar-winning performance from Kim Basinger, but Hanson won Best Adapted Screenplay (shared with Brian Helgeland). In 1997 the film was a refreshing take on a worn genre, being as much an entertaining thriller as it was an exposé of the seedy underbelly of Los Angeles. Today, it remains an inspiration for many similar films that follow it.

After that he went on to tackle many other films of varying styles, including the rap drama 8 MILE (which starred Eminem and won him an Oscar for the song LOSE YOURSELF), the black comedy WONDER BOYS, and the drama IN HER SHOES witn Toni Collette and Cameron Diaz.

However different his films, there is one trait Hanson brought to all of them, and it spoke volumes to his depth as a human being: the ability to see something in people that no one else ever thought to look for. CONFIDENTIAL was the first big American film done by Russell Crowe and Guy Pearce, two young, amazing talents the studio was worried about hiring; He cast Robert Downey Jr. in WONDER BOYS when the actor was considered too much of a liability; and he made a movie around Eminem, a controversial rapper who had more soul than anyone was giving him credit for. His ability to see the true talent in people is what brings out the power in his movies, and what has given him his place in film history.

Source: TMZ

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