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John Singleton

John Singleton
Singleton at a Canadian Film Centre event, 2013
Born John Daniel Singleton
(1968-01-06) January 6, 1968
Los Angeles, California, U.S.
Occupation Film director
Spouse(s) Akosua Busia (1996–1997)

John Daniel Singleton (born January 6, 1968) is an American film director, screenwriter, and producer best known for directing Boyz n the Hood in 1991. For the film, he was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Director, becoming the first African American and youngest person to have ever been nominated for the award. Singleton is a native of South Los Angeles and many of his early films, such as Poetic Justice (1993), Higher Learning (1995), and Baby Boy (2001), consider the implications of inner-city violence. Some of his other films include dramas such as Rosewood (1997) in addition to action films such as Shaft (2000), 2 Fast 2 Furious (2003), and Four Brothers (2005).

Contents

  • Early life 1
  • Career 2
  • Personal life 3
    • Accident 3.1
    • Criticism of Hollywood 3.2
  • Filmography 4
    • Director 4.1
    • Producer 4.2
    • Screenwriter 4.3
    • Actor 4.4
  • Collaborations 5
  • Further reading 6
  • References 7
  • External links 8

Early life

Singleton was born in Los Angeles, the son of Sheila Ward-Johnson, a pharmaceutical company sales executive, and Danny Singleton, a real estate agent, mortgage broker, and financial planner.[1] He attended Bassett High School (California), Pasadena City College and the USC School of Cinematic Arts. He graduated from USC in 1990, and is a member of Kappa Alpha Psi fraternity.[2] Singleton was enrolled in the University of Southern California's Filmic Writing program under Margaret Mehring[3] and her now-famous curriculum. The program was designed to take students directly into the Hollywood system as proficient writer/directors.

Unlike the other standard USC programs for screenwriting, film production, or the Peter Stark Motion Picture Producing and critical studies programs, Mehring designed her FILMIC writing program to teach a select group of students how to be authors of their visions. Other students included Helen Childress (writer of Reality Bites), Stephen Chbosky (writer of TV’s Jericho), and Ms. Childress’ husband Carlos Brooks (writer/director of Quid Pro Quo). Singleton was always present in the Apple computer writing lab, working on his screenplays during late nights and early mornings. However, his ability to direct was correlated to an early beginning in music videos, which culminated in the EFX driven Michael JacksonRemember the Time” MTV video.

Career

Singleton's 1991 film debut Boyz n the Hood, an inner city drama starring Cuba Gooding, Jr., Ice Cube, and Laurence Fishburne, was both a significant critical and commercial success. For his efforts, Singleton received Academy Award nominations for Best Original Screenplay and Best Director.[2] At age 24 he was the youngest person ever nominated for Best Director, and the first African-American to be nominated for the award. The film has since attained classic status and, in 2002, the United States Library of Congress deemed the film "culturally significant" and selected it for preservation in the National Film Registry.[4]

Singleton's follow-up films Poetic Justice (1993) and Higher Learning (1995) were similarly socially conscious and received mixed to positive reviews. Singleton also directed the video for Michael Jackson's 1991 single "Remember The Time", starring actor Eddie Murphy.

In 1997, his film Rosewood, a historical drama about racial violence, was entered into the 47th Berlin International Film Festival.[5] Both this and his 2001 film Baby Boy received very positive reviews and helped establish Singleton's critical reputation. Additionally, his adaptation of Shaft (2000), starring Samuel L. Jackson in the title role, was successful critically and commercially.

Singleton has since turned to directing action films, such as 2 Fast 2 Furious (2003) and Four Brothers (2005), which have for the most part received mixed to negative reviews.

In 2005, Singleton teamed with Craig Brewer and financed the independent film, Hustle and Flow, once it was clear that most other major backers would not clear it for release.

In 2013, it was announced that Singleton was attached as director of the Carl Franklin.[7]

Personal life

He has six children in total. John has a daughter named Justice Maya Singleton (born on October 17, 1992) with ex-companion Tosha Lewis, as well as a son, Maasai Mohandas Singleton (born April 3, 1994).

On October 12, 1996, John married Ghanaian actress Akosua Gyamama Busia, who is the daughter of Ghana's second Prime Minister Dr. Kofi Abrefa Busia. They have a daughter named Hadar Singleton. born on April 3, 1997, who has appeared in Tears of the Sun (2003) and other productions, and were divorced in June 1997. John also has a daughter, Cleopatra Singleton, who was born in 1999.

Accident

On August 23, 2007, Singleton was involved in an automobile accident in which he struck a jaywalking pedestrian, Constance Russell, 57, of Los Angeles.[8] Staying on the scene until police arrived, Singleton was not under the influence of alcohol or other substances, and was released after being questioned. Russell died later in the hospital. The case was turned over to the District Attorney but no charges were filed.[9][10]

Criticism of Hollywood

On March 19, 2014, Singleton criticized popular studios for "refusing to let African-Americans direct black-themed films". Singleton told an audience of students at Loyola Marymount University "They ain't letting the black people tell the stories." He also added, "They want black people [to be] what they want them to be. And nobody is man enough to go and say that. They want black people to be who they want them to be, as opposed to what they are. The black films now — so-called black films now — they're great. They're great films. But they're just product. They're not moving the bar forward creatively. … When you try to make it homogenized, when you try to make it appeal to everybody, then you don't have anything that's special."[11][12][13]

Filmography

Director

Producer

Screenwriter

Actor

Collaborations

Singleton has cast certain actors in more than one of his films:

Boyz n the Hood (1991) Poetic Justice (1993) Higher Learning (1995) Rosewood (1997) Shaft (2000) Baby Boy (2001) 2 Fast 2 Furious (2003) Four Brothers (2005) Abduction (2011)
Lloyd Avery II
N
N
Mark Boone Junior
N
N
Morris Chestnut
N
N
John Cothran, Jr.
N
N
Ice Cube
N
N
Tyra Ferrell
N
N
Laurence Fishburne
N
N
Tyrese Gibson
N
N
N
Dedrick D. Gobert
N
N
N
Tim Griffin
N
N
N
N
Cole Hauser
N
N
Taraji P. Henson
N
N
Catherine Kellner
N
N
Regina King
N
N
N
Marc Macaulay
N
N
Michael Rapaport
N
N
Ving Rhames
N
N
Busta Rhymes
N
N
Roger Guenveur Smith
N
N

Further reading

  • Barboza, Craigh (January 2009). John Singleton: Interviews. Univ. Press of Mississippi.  

References

  1. ^ "John Singleton Biography (1968–)". Filmreference.com. Retrieved October 8, 2010. 
  2. ^ a b USC Cinema – Alumni » Pickford Award Archived July 9, 2013 at the Wayback Machine
  3. ^ "USC School of Cinematic Arts – About » News » Margaret Mehring". Cntv.usc.edu. September 3, 2008. Retrieved October 8, 2010. 
  4. ^ "Films Selected to The National Film Registry, Library of Congress 1989–2008". Loc. Retrieved July 17, 2009. 
  5. ^ "Berlinale: 1997 Programme". berlinale.de. Retrieved 2012-01-12. 
  6. ^ Grow, Kory (April 3, 2015). "New Tupac Biopic 'On Hold,' Says Director John Singleton".  
  7. ^ Donnelly, Matt (April 7, 2015). "Carl Franklin to Replace Director John Singleton on Tupac Biopic".  
  8. ^ "Filmmaker John Singleton Involved in Fatal Car Accident in L.A.". Foxnews.com. August 25, 2007. Retrieved October 8, 2010. 
  9. ^ "Movie director Singleton kills pedestrian in accident". Edition.cnn.com. August 25, 2007. Retrieved October 8, 2010. 
  10. ^ "Singleton released after questioning – Entertainment News, Film News, Media". Variety. August 26, 2007. Retrieved October 8, 2010. 
  11. ^ Appelo, Tim (24 March 2014). "John Singleton Says Studios 'Ain't Letting Black People Tell Stories,' Unveils Tupac Biopic Plans". Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 25 March 2014. 
  12. ^ Child, Ben (25 March 2014). "John Singleton accuses Hollywood of ignoring black directors". The Guardian. Retrieved 25 March 2014. 
  13. ^ Rawden, Mack (24 March 2014). "John Singleton Slams So-Called Studio Liberals For Not Offering More Opportunities". Cinema Blend. Retrieved 25 March 2014. 

External links

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