Sad news today as veteran Hollywood director Joel Schumacher has succumbed to cancer at the age of 80. Getting his start as a costume designer in the early 70’s, Joel then moved to writing where he penned 1976’s Sparkle starring Ms. Irene Cara and then 1978’s Car Wash and The Wiz. His directorial debut came in 1981 with the Lily Tomlin/Charles Grodin film The Incredible Shrinking Woman which was followed up by a personal favorite of mine: 1983’s D.C. Cab.
Mr. Schumacher hit the big time in 1985 when he directed the huge Brat Pack hit St. Elmo’s Fire starring…literally every young actor who was anyone in 1985. It was in 1987, however, that horror fans fell in love with his work as he filmed the classic vampire movie The Lost Boys.
Through the rest of the 80’s and early 90’s, Mr. Schumacher continued his run of solid films (Flatliners, Falling Down, etc.) but he ran into a little hiccup with critics and fans alike in the mid-90’s with his Batman Forever and Batman & Robin (for which he unnecessarily later apologized to fans in an interview). Obviously unphased, he went on to direct the multi-Oscar nominated adaptation of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s The Phantom of the Opera.
Mr. Schumacher continued to work and awe fans with his amazingly stylistic films and directed some of the best, and most well-known, actors of our generation including Cate Blanchett, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Tommy Lee Jones, Robert De Niro, Joanquin Phoenix and many more.
When asked for advice on film-making, he said, “Be bold, take risks, follow your own instincts, listen to other people only when you really believe in your gut that they’re right.”