Gus Van Sant

Gus Van Sant

Highest Rated: 100% Drugstore Cowboy (1989)

Lowest Rated: 11% Virginia (2012)

Birthday: Jul 24, 1952

Birthplace: Louisville, Kentucky, USA

A director who is capable of crafting both deeply unconventional independent films and mainstream crowd-pleasers, Gus Van Sant has managed to carve an enviable niche for himself in Hollywood. In the years that followed his debut in 1985 with Mala Noche, Van Sant established himself as one of the most vital directorial voices in the U.S.The son of a traveling salesman who rapidly worked his way up the corporate ladder into middle-class prosperity, Van Sant was born in Louisville, KY, on July 24, 1952. Due to his father's job, the family moved continuously during Van Sant's childhood. One constant in the director's early years was his interest in painting and Super-8 filmmaking; while still in school he began making semi-autobiographical shorts costing between 30 and 50 dollars. Van Sant's artistic leanings took him to the Rhode Island School of Design in 1970, where his introduction to various avant-garde directors inspired him to change his major from painting to cinema.After spending time in Europe, Van Sant went to Los Angeles in 1976. He became fascinated by the down-and-out residents of L.A., especially in context with the more ordinary, prosperous world that surrounded them; his film Mala Noche (1985) would reflect his observation of these societal outcasts.Mala Noche was made two years after Van Sant went to New York to work in an advertising agency; saving 25,000 dollars during his tenure there, he was able to finance his tale of doomed love between a gay liquor store clerk and a Mexican immigrant. The film, which was taken from Portland street writer Walt Curtis's semi-autobiographical novella, featured some of the director's hallmarks, notably an unfulfilled romanticism, a dry sense of the absurd, and the refusal to treat homosexuality as something deserving of judgment. Shot in black-and-white, Mala Noche earned its director almost overnight acclaim on the festival circuit, with the Los Angeles Times naming it the year's Best Independent Film. The film's success attracted Hollywood interest, and Van Sant was briefly courted by Universal; the courtship ended after Van Sant pitched a series of project ideas (including what would later become Drugstore Cowboy and My Own Private Idaho) that the studio declined to take interest in. Van Sant reacted by moving to Portland, Oregon, where he set up house and began giving life to the ideas rejected by Universal.With the assistance of independent production company Avenue, the director made Drugstore Cowboy, his 1989 film about four drug addicts who rob pharmacies to support their habit. Cowboy met with great critical success; in addition to furthering Van Sant's reputation as a gifted director, it helped to revive the career of Matt Dillon, who was remarkable as the junkie leader who decides to come clean. The similarly acclaimed My Own Private Idaho (1991) centered around the dealings of two male hustlers (played by River Phoenix and Keanu Reeves), and was a compelling examination of unrequited love, alienation, and the concept of family. The film won him an Independent Spirit Award for his screenplay (he had won the same award for his Drugstore Cowboy screenplay), as well as greater prestige. Van Sant's next project, a 1994 adaptation of Tom Robbins' Even Cowgirls Get the Blues, was an excessive flop, both commercially and critically. Featuring an unusually large budget (for Van Sant, at least) of 8.5 million dollars and a large, eclectic cast including Uma Thurman, John Hurt, and Keanu Reeves, the film was worked and then reworked, but the finished product nonetheless resulted in something approaching a significant disaster. Fortunately for Van Sant, his next project, 1995's To Die For, helped to restore his luster. An adaptation of Joyce Maynard's novel, the black comedy starred Nicole Kidman as a murderously ambitious weather girl. It was Van Sant's first effort for a major studio (Columbia), and its success paved the way for further projects of the director's choosing. T


Highest Rated Movies



No Score Yet At the Video Store Actor 2020
76% Don't Worry, He Won't Get Far on Foot Screenwriter Director 2018
15% The Sea of Trees Director $20.6K 2016
22% The Canyons Dr. Campbell $31.8K 2013
84% Laurence Anyways Executive Producer 2013
52% Promised Land Executive Producer Director $7.7M 2013
No Score Yet The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test Director 2013
No Score Yet Trespassing Bergman Actor 2013
11% Virginia Executive Producer $11.6K 2012
37% Restless Director Producer $0.2M 2011
80% The Story Of Film: An Odyssey Actor 2011
No Score Yet The Advocate For Fagdom Actor 2011
88% William S. Burroughs: A Man Within Actor $46.9K 2010
63% Howl Executive Producer $0.7M 2010
No Score Yet 8 Director 2009
93% Milk Director $31.8M 2008
95% Mala Noche Screenwriter Producer Director 2007
76% Paranoid Park Director Screenwriter $0.3M 2007
87% Paris Je T'aime Screenwriter Director $4.9M 2007
65% Wild Tigers I Have Known Executive Producer 2007
57% Last Days Director Producer Screenwriter $0.4M 2005
92% Tarnation Executive Producer $0.5M 2004
73% Elephant Screenwriter Director $1.2M 2003
61% Gerry Screenwriter Director 2003
29% Speedway Junky Executive Producer Producer 2002
52% Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back Himself $29.9M 2001
74% Finding Forrester Director $51.4M 2000
38% Psycho Producer Director 1998
97% Good Will Hunting Director Screenwriter 1997
No Score Yet Guns on the Clackamas Actor 1996
88% To Die For Director 1995
46% Kids Executive Producer 1995
19% Even Cowgirls Get the Blues Director Screenwriter Executive Producer Producer 1994
81% My Own Private Idaho Screenwriter Producer Executive Producer Director 1991
100% Drugstore Cowboy Director Screenwriter 1989
No Score Yet The Discipline of D.E Director 1977
No Score Yet They Learned About Women Jerry Burke 1930
No Score Yet Critico Actor


82% When We Rise
Executive Producer Director 2017
94% Portlandia
81% Boss
Producer Executive Producer Director 2012
66% Entourage
Himself 2008
No Score Yet The Devil You Know


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