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F. Gary Gray Poster

Biography

Jump to: Overview (3)  | Mini Bio (1)  | Trivia (5)  | Personal Quotes (6)

Overview (3)

Born in New York City, New York, USA
Birth NameFelix Gary Gray
Height 5' 5" (1.65 m)

Mini Bio (1)

F. Gary Gray was born on July 17, 1969 in New York City, New York, USA as Felix Gary Gray. He is a director and producer, known for Set It Off (1996), The Italian Job (2003) and The Negotiator (1998).

Trivia (5)

At the 1995 MTV Music Video Awards, he won Best Video of the Year for Directing the music video "Waterfalls" by the girl group TLC.
Casablanca (1942), On the Waterfront (1954), Sweet Smell of Success (1957), La Dolce Vita (1960) and The Godfather: Part II (1974) are some of his favorite films.
He was awarded a Star on the Hollywood of Fame at 6426 Hollywood Boulevard in Hollywood, California on May 28, 2019.
Friends with Nia Long.
He has directed three sequels to films with which he was not involved: Be Cool; Fate of the Furious and Men in Black: International. He shares this distinction with director Howard Deutch (Grumpier Old Men; The Odd Couple II and The Whole Ten Yards).

Personal Quotes (6)

I don't have a typical filmmaker background. I didn't grow up with a super eight camera or a video camera. I didn't start cutting movies when I was four or five. I actually didn't really start to get into the research of film until I was much older. I decided I wanted to direct a lot earlier than I started to do the research, which is really strange, but it is the case.
About directing Samuel L. Jackson and Kevin Spacey on The Negotiator]: I could talk a certain way to Ice Cube, Chris Tucker, and Jada Pinkett and Queen Latifah on Set It Off. But when you've got guys who bring up Orson Welles, Shakespeare and Juilliard? Kevin Spacey had directed Albino Alligator, and Sam Jackson is from Morehouse and has been doing plays and films for so long and they were the two hottest guys on the planet after Pulp Fiction and The Usual Suspects. I found myself so ... intimidated. They started to use big words I didn't understand, and I was like, "F*ck, if I open my mouth, I will make a fool of myself." I had this vision of what I wanted to do, but I would get into rehearsals and not say anything for fear of looking stupid.
"I gave this awful direction once to Jada Pinkett on Set It Off, and I didn't realize it until much later, but it still makes me ashamed and it still makes me cringe. You remember that film, Glory? With Denzel Washington? I walk onto the set and there was this very emotional moment I wanted to achieve on Set It Off. So I brought this Sony Clamshell to the set. You know that scene where Denzel has this one tear in his eye as he is being whipped by Matthew Broderick? I don't know how to articulate it properly, so I point to the Clamshell, this little tiny device and I had recorded that scene with my video camera and turned it on this tiny screen on the Clamshell and I say, "So Jada, I want this moment. This is what I want!" Now, she was either being extremely nice, or maybe she just trusted me enough to think, "He had a bad moment, and I know what he wants." But she didn't say anything. In hindsight, it was one of the absolute low point of my career, in terms of approach. I can think back and laugh now, but it's still uncomfortable to remember.
I remember I once had a meeting with Michael Jackson, and we started talking about movies. He could break down every single classic film, every great musical, and I'd start talking about 'Scarface.
I didn't grow up studying Orson Welles. "All the greats, I learned about them after the fact, because I had already started making movies, and I was embarrassed to do interviews where they would bring up these great filmmakers and I wouldn't know any of them.
I was really practical. I never thought of myself as being an artist until much later in my career. When I got a chance to direct movies, I did it in a way where I thought most people would have made the same choices. 'Of course, it's obvious to put the camera here, and it's obvious to get this kind of performance....' I really did feel like any person, given the same opportunity, would do exactly the same thing. But then you evolve and you grow and it's like, 'fuck, maybe there is something to this.' You don't think of yourself as special, but you start to realize that maybe everybody wouldn't have made those exact same choices. I didn't really understand that until later in life, and then I started to embrace it.

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