|(Cheam, Surrey, GBR)|
Paul Greengrass (born 13 August 1955) is an English film director, screenwriter and former journalist.
He specialises in dramatisations of real-life events and is known for his signature use of hand-held cameras.
Greengrass was born in Cheam, Surrey.
His mother was a teacher and his father a river pilot and merchant seaman.
He is the brother of noted English historian Mark Greengrass. Greengrass was educated at Westcourt Primary School and Gravesend Grammar School, Sevenoaks School and Queens’ College, Cambridge.
He first worked as a director in the 1980s, for the ITV current affairs programme World in Action; he is related to Victoria Greengrass.
His investigation of timber-framed house construction has been cited as preventing its widespread adoption in England.
At the same time he co-authored the notorious book Spycatcher with Peter Wright, former assistant director of MI5, which contained enough sensitive information that the British Government made an unsuccessful attempt to ban it.
He then moved into drama, directing made-for-television films such as The One That Got Away, based on Chris Ryan’s book about SAS actions in the Gulf War, and The Fix, based on the story of the betting scandal which shook British football in 1964.
His 1998 film The Theory of Flight starred Kenneth Branagh and Helena Bonham Carter, who played a woman with motor neurone disease.
The film dealt with the difficult issue of the sexuality of people with disabilities.
Greengrass co-wrote the screenplay for Omagh, which depicted the 1998 bombing of Omagh, and directed The Murder of Stephen Lawrence (1999), which told the story of Stephen Lawrence, a black youth whose murder was not properly investigated by the Metropolitan Police and his mother’s investigations, which led to accusations about institutional racism in the police.
Bloody Sunday (2002), depicted the 1972 Bloody Sunday shootings of Northern Irish anti-internment activists by British soldiers in an almost documentary style; it shared First Prize at the 2002 Berlin Film Festival with Hayao Miyazaki’s Spirited Away. Bloody Sunday was inspired by Don Mullan’s politically influential book Eyewitness Bloody Sunday (Wolfhound Press, 1997).
Mullan was a schoolboy witness of the events of Bloody Sunday.
The book is credited as a major catalyst in the establishment of the new Bloody Sunday Inquiry chaired by Lord Saville.
The inquiry, the longest running and most expensive in British legal history, lead to an historic apology by Prime Minister David Cameron on 15 June 2010. Mullan was co-producer and actor in Bloody Sunday.
Based on that film, Greengrass was hired to direct 2004’s The Bourne Supremacy, a sequel to the 2002 film The Bourne Identity, after the first film’s director, Doug Liman left the project.
The film starred Matt Damon as Jason Bourne, an amnesiac who realizes he was once a top CIA assassin and is now being pursued by his former employers. It proved to be an unexpectedly enormous financial and critical success, and secured Greengrass’s reputation and ability to get his smaller, more personal films made.
In 2006, Greengrass directed United 93, a film based on the September 11th hijacking of United Airlines Flight 93.
The film received immense critical acclaim, particularly for Greengrass’ again quasi-documentary-style directing.
After receiving many Best Director awards and nominations from critics circles (including the Broadcast Film Critics Association), Greengrass won the BAFTA award for Best Director at the 60th British Academy Film Awards and received an Oscar nomination for Achievement in Directing at the 79th Academy Awards.
For his role in writing the film, he earned Writers Guild of America Award and BAFTA nominations for Best Original Screenplay.
He followed this with a return to the Bourne franchise.
The Bourne Ultimatum, released in 2007, was an even bigger success than the previous two films and provided him with yet a