Sam Raimi
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Sam Raimi

Sam Raimi
Sam Raimi by Gage Skidmore 2.jpg
Born
Samuel M. Raimi

(1959-10-23) October 23, 1959 (age 60)
Alma materMichigan State University
OccupationDirector, producer, screenwriter, actor
Years active1977-present
Gillian Greene (m. 1993)
Children5
FamilyTed Raimi (brother)
Ivan Raimi (brother)

Samuel M. Raimi[1] (born October 23, 1959) is an American filmmaker, actor, and producer, primarily known for creating the cult horror Evil Dead series, and directing the Spider-Man trilogy (2002-2007). He also directed the 1990 superhero film Darkman, the 1998 neo-noir crime-thriller A Simple Plan, the 2000 supernatural thriller film The Gift, the 2009 supernatural horror film Drag Me to Hell, and the 2013 Disney fantasy film Oz the Great and Powerful. Raimi has also produced several successful television series, including Hercules: The Legendary Journeys and its spin-off Xena: Warrior Princess. He founded the production company Renaissance Pictures in 1979.

Early life

Raimi was born in Royal Oak, Michigan, to a Conservative Jewish family. His ancestors were Jewish immigrants from Russia and Hungary.[2][3][4] He is the older brother of actor Ted Raimi and the younger brother of screenwriter Ivan Raimi. His sister is Andrea Raimi Rubin.[5] Another older brother, Sander Raimi, died at 15 in an accidental drowning; Sam Raimi has said that the trauma knitted the remaining family closer together and "colour[ed] everything [he's done] for the rest of [his] life."[6]

The fourth of five children born to Celia Barbara (née Abrams) and Leonard Ronald Raimi, Raimi grew up in Franklin, Michigan.[7][8] He graduated from Groves High School[9] and later went on to attend Michigan State University, where he majored in English but left after three semesters to film The Evil Dead.[10]

Film

Raimi became fascinated with making films when his father brought a movie camera home one day. He began to make Super 8 movies with his friend Bruce Campbell, whom he met in 1975. In college, he teamed up with his brother's roommate Robert Tapert and Campbell to shoot Within the Woods (1978), a 32-minute horror film which raised $375,000, as well as his debut feature film It's Murder!. During that time, he also shot the 7-minute short film Clockwork (1978), starring Scott Spiegel, who had appeared in Within the Woods, and Cheryl Guttridge.[11][12] Through family, friends, and a network of investors, Raimi was able to finance production of the highly successful horror film The Evil Dead (1981) which became a cult hit and effectively launched Raimi's career.

He began work on his third film Crimewave (1985), which he co-wrote with the then-unknown Coen brothers, shortly after. Intended as a live-action comic book, the film was not successful, due in part to unwanted studio intervention. Raimi then returned to the horror genre with the seminal Evil Dead II (which added slapstick humor to the over the top horror, showcasing his love of the Three Stooges). With his brother Ivan Raimi (and crediting himself as Celia Abrams), Sam Raimi also wrote Easy Wheels (1989), a parody of the Outlaw biker film genre. A long-time comic book buff, he then attempted to adapt "The Shadow" into a movie, but was unable to secure the rights, so he created his own super-hero, Darkman (1990). The film was his first major studio picture, and was a commercial success, spawning two sequels. Through it he was still able to secure funding for Evil Dead III, which was retitled Army of Darkness and turned away almost totally from horror in favor of fantasy and comedy elements. Army of Darkness, the final movie in the Evil Dead trilogy, was a box office disappointment, yet on video became a cult classic.

In the 1990s, Raimi moved into other genres, directing such films as the western The Quick and the Dead (starring Sharon Stone and Gene Hackman), the critically acclaimed crime thriller A Simple Plan (1998) (starring Bill Paxton and Billy Bob Thornton), and the romantic drama For Love of the Game (1999) (starring Kevin Costner).

Raimi achieved great critical and commercial success with the blockbuster Spider-Man (2002), which was adapted from the comic book series of the same name. The movie has grossed over US$800 million worldwide, spawning two sequels: Spider-Man 2 and Spider-Man 3, both directed by Raimi and each grossing approximately $800 million. After the completion of the third Spider-Man film, he planned on producing two more sequels (although Sony Pictures planned three sequels) but could not find a satisfactory script.

Raimi frequently collaborates with Joel and Ethan Coen, beginning when Joel was one of the editors of Evil Dead. The Coens co-wrote Crimewave and The Hudsucker Proxy with Raimi in the mid-1980s (though Hudsucker was not produced for almost a decade). Raimi made cameo appearances in Miller's Crossing, The Hudsucker Proxy, and with Joel Coen in Spies Like Us. The Coen brothers gave Raimi advice on shooting in snow for A Simple Plan, based on their experiences with Fargo.[]

He worked in front of the camera in The Stand as a dimwitted hitman, John Carpenter's Body Bags as a murdered gas station attendant, and Indian Summer in what is perhaps his biggest role as a bumbling assistant to Alan Arkin. The film was written by his childhood friend writer-director Mike Binder and shot at the camp that they both attended when they were younger. Raimi also produced the entire The Grudge franchise.[]

According to Entertainment Weekly, Raimi had expressed an interest in directing a film version of The Hobbit, the prequel to the Lord of the Rings trilogy.[13] In 2008, Guillermo del Toro was selected as the director, with Peter Jackson as the executive producer. Raimi may direct By Any Means Necessary, the next film based on the "Jack Ryan" CIA character created by Tom Clancy for Paramount Pictures. Disney also approached him to direct W.I.T.C.H.: The Movie, based on the popular comic.

Blizzard Entertainment announced on July 22, 2009 that Sam Raimi will be directing a Warcraft film.[14] However at Comic-Con International 2012, it was revealed that he would not be the one directing the World of Warcraft adaptation.[15]

On September 23, 2009, he became the producer for the British supernatural thriller Refuge, which is directed by Corin Hardy and published by Mandate Pictures.[16] He will produce the remake of the Danish thriller The Substitute, which will be directed by Scott Dickerson under his new label Spooky Pictures.[17] Raimi produced with his company Ghost House Pictures the British thriller flick Burst 3D, which is directed by Neil Marshall.[18]

Raimi directed Oz the Great and Powerful, which was released on March 8, 2013 by Walt Disney Pictures.[19][20] He said he would not be directing the planned sequel.[21][22]

On December 11, 2006, the website SuperHero Hype reported that director Sam Raimi and Michael Uslan would co-produce a new film version of The Shadow for Columbia Pictures. On October 16, 2007, Raimi stated that: "I don't have any news on 'The Shadow' at this time, except that the company that I have with Josh Donen, my producing partner, we've got the rights to 'The Shadow.' I love the character very much and we're trying to work on a story that'll do justice to the character."[23][]

Raimi, along with Bruce Campbell and Rob Tapert, produced the remake of Raimi's The Evil Dead. First-time feature filmmaker Fede Alvarez wrote and directed, and Diablo Cody was also brought in to revise/rewrite the script.[24] Raimi confirmed plans to write Evil Dead 4 with his brother; it was later specified that this film would be Army of Darkness 2.[25] Alvarez revealed that Raimi would direct the sequel to Army of Darkness.[26] However, in an interview with Erin Darling,[who?]Bruce Campbell announced that Army of Darkness 2 is not happening, saying "It's all internet b.s. There's no reality whatsoever. These random comments slip out of either my mouth, or Sam Raimi's mouth, next thing you know, we're making a sequel."[27]

On February 26, 2016, it was confirmed that Raimi is attached to direct the upcoming film World War 3 for Warner Bros. The film will be based on a possible future inspired by the book The Next 100 Years by George Friedman.[28]

On February 16, 2017, it was reported that Raimi will be directing a thriller about the Bermuda Triangle for Skydance Media, with the script being written by Doug Miro and Carlo Bernard.[29]

On January 29, 2018, it was announced that Raimi was set to direct the first movie in the big-screen adaptation of Patrick Rothfuss's Kingkiller Chronicle series, The Name of the Wind, with Rothfuss and Hamilton creator Lin-Manuel Miranda serving as executive producers.[30] However, it was reported on Dec. 1, 2018, that Raimi was no longer involved with the project.[31]

Television

In addition to film, Raimi has worked in television, producing such series as Hercules: The Legendary Journeys and its spin-off Xena: Warrior Princess, both featuring his younger brother Ted Raimi and long-time friend Bruce Campbell, American Gothic, Cleopatra 2525, M.A.N.T.I.S., 13: Fear Is Real, Young Hercules, and Jack of All Trades. In 2008, Raimi executive produced a syndicated TV series called Legend of the Seeker, based on Terry Goodkind's best-selling The Sword of Truth fantasy series. He is also the executive producer of Starz original television series Spartacus: Blood and Sand and Spartacus: Gods of the Arena,[32]Spartacus: Vengeance and Spartacus: War of the Damned. He directed the pilot episode of Ash vs Evil Dead for Starz.[33]

Recurring trademarks, motifs, and partners

Raimi's brother Ted Raimi and his friend Bruce Campbell often appear in on-screen roles in his film and television projects, although some of the appearances are just cameos. The trio have been working together since their college days. Both Ted and Bruce have appeared in all three Evil Dead and Spider-Man movies, as well as Hercules: The Legendary Journeys and Xena: Warrior Princess, which Sam produced. In the Evil Dead films, Campbell plays the recurring lead part of Ash, while Ted played numerous small parts in each film.

In the Spider-Man films Ted played the featured role of Daily Bugle advertising manager Ted Hoffman, while Bruce Campbell played different roles in each Spider-Man film. In Hercules and Xena, Ted and Bruce played the recurring roles of Joxer and Autolycus respectively. Raimi occasionally appears on-screen in his movies, usually in similar fashion to the cameos made by his idol Alfred Hitchcock: In Spider-Man in the wrestling scene as a silhouette behind a projection screen; in Spider-Man 2 as a passing student whose bookbag hits Peter Parker in the back of the head; as a hitchhiking fisherman accompanied by Robert Tapert in The Evil Dead. Raimi also wears a suit with white shirt and tie on-set in another homage to Hitchcock. An adept fan will also notice Raimi's recurring usage of soda crackers as a back prop.

Raimi often works with film editor Bob Murawski, a fellow Michigan State University alumnus. Among Raimi's films edited by Murawski include the Spider-Man movies, The Gift, and Army of Darkness. Raimi also frequently collaborates with composer Joseph LoDuca, another acquaintance from Michigan who has provided the scores to most of his films.

Raimi has included his old car from his college days, a 1973 yellow Oldsmobile Delta 88 automobile (nicknamed "The Classic"), in every film including The Quick and the Dead ("Somewhere...somewhere hidden. Only I know. I'll never tell"). At Comic-con 2005 Bruce Campbell revealed that a special covered wagon frame had covered the Oldsmobile to maintain the motif of the film. The yellow Oldsmobile also appeared in Drag Me to Hell, driven by the elderly gypsy woman. A bottle of Maker's Mark also appears regularly in his movies. The Classic does not appear in the final cut of For Love of the Game, however. The scene in which it appeared was removed during the editing process.[]

Other Raimi visual trademarks include:

  • A distinctive camera shot where the camera follows a moving object (such as an arrow or a bullet) at high speed creating a first-person point-of-view from the object itself;
  • A rapid dolly shot to bring a far-off object suddenly into the center of the frame or to pull back from the main focal object to show what is happening around the perimeter (sometimes called "push-pull");
  • Montage sequences with overlapping close-up shots to establish a set of similar actions over elapsing time.
  • Extreme closeups using a wide angle lens.

In the Making The Amazing documentary on the Spider-Man 2 DVD, both Tobey Maguire and Bruce Campbell humorously describe Raimi's penchant for "abusing" actors. To obtain detailed closeups of a character getting hit by debris Raimi stands off-camera throwing items, swinging tree branches, etc., at the actor at the center of the shot. Scenes from the documentary show that Raimi is the one throwing popcorn at Peter Parker during the walk to the wrestling ring in Spider-Man and tossing gold coins around during the bank robbery scene in Spider-Man 2, as well as a passer-by banging their bag into Peter Parker's head as he kneels on the sidewalk of his college's campus being Sam Raimi.

In many of Raimi's movies the camera itself is part of the action onscreen. One of Raimi's most famous sequences involves a point-of-view shot of actor Bruce Campbell being chased through a cabin by an unseen evil force.

Recurring collaborators

Personal life

Raimi has been married since 1993 to Gillian Dania Greene, daughter of actor Lorne Greene. They have five children, three of whom (daughter Emma Rose and sons Lorne and Henry) appeared as extras in Drag Me to Hell, and in Spider-Man 3 during the movie's final battle.[]

Raimi has donated to both Democratic and Republican politicians. In 2004, he donated to George W. Bush's presidential campaign, and has also donated to Republican Senator Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania and Democratic Senator Barbara Boxer of California.[34]

Filmography

Film

Year Title Director Writer Producer Notes
1977 It's Murder! Yes Yes Yes Also editor and sound mixer (uncredited)
1981 The Evil Dead Yes Yes Executive Also special effects (uncredited)
1985 Crimewave Yes Yes No
1987 Evil Dead II Yes Yes No
1990 Darkman Yes Yes Executive
1992 The Nutt House No Yes No As Alan Smithee Jr.
Army of Darkness Yes Yes No Also editor (as "R.O.C. Sandstorm")
1994 The Hudsucker Proxy 2nd unit Yes No
1995 The Quick and the Dead Yes No No
1998 A Simple Plan Yes No No
1999 For Love of the Game Yes No No
2000 The Gift Yes No No
2002 Spider-Man Yes No No Also special effects (uncredited)
2004 Spider-Man 2 Yes No No
2007 Spider-Man 3 Yes Yes No
2009 Drag Me to Hell Yes Yes Uncredited
2013 Oz the Great and Powerful Yes No No

Producer only

Short films

Year Title Director Writer Producer Notes
1972 Out West Yes Yes No Also cinematographer
1975 The Great Bogus Monkey Pignuts Swindle Yes No No
1976 Uncivil War Birds Yes No No
The James R. Hoffa Story, Part II Yes No No
Mystery No Mystery Yes No No
Attack of the Pillsbury Doughboy Yes No No
1977 The Happy Valley Kid Yes No No
Six Months to Live Yes No No
Picnic Yes No No
Civil War Part II Yes No No
1978 Within the Woods Yes Yes executive Also editor
Clockwork Yes Yes Yes
1979 William Shakespeare: The Movie Yes No No
1985 The Sappy Sap Yes No No
2017 The Black Ghiandola Yes No No

Acting roles

Year Film Role Notes
1977 It's Murder! Uncle Jasper
1978 Attack of the Helping Hand Milk Man Short film
Shemp Eats the Moon Angelo the Knife Short film
1981 The Evil Dead Hitchhiker Uncredited
1982 Cleveland Smith: Bounty Hunter Nazi Short film
1983 Hefty's Cook No. 2
1985 Spies Like Us Drive-in guard No. 2
1987 Evil Dead 2 Knight hailing Ash Uncredited
Thou Shalt Not Kill... Except Cult leader
1988 Maniac Cop News Reporter
1989 Intruder Randy
1990 Miller's Crossing Snickering Gunman
Maniac Cop 2 Newscaster
1992 Innocent Blood Roma Meats Man
Army of Darkness Knight in Sweatshirt and Sneakers Uncredited
1993 Indian Summer Stick Coder
1994 The Hudsucker Proxy Hudsucker Brainstormer
The Flintstones Cliff Vandercave Look-A-Like
1995 Galaxis Nervous Official
2002 Spider-Man Popcorn Throwing Wrestling Fan Unseen cameo revealed in the bloopers
2004 Spider-Man 2 University Student Unseen cameo revealed in the bloopers
2009 Drag Me to Hell Ghost at Seance Uncredited
2013 3 Geezers! Sam
2016 The Jungle Book Giant Squirrel Voice role

Television

Year Title Director Writer Executive
Producer
Notes
1994 M.A.N.T.I.S. No Story Yes TV movie
2014 Rake Yes No Yes 2 episodes
2015-2018 Ash vs Evil Dead Yes Yes Yes Episode: "El Jefe";
Also developer

Executive producer only

Acting roles

Year Title Role Notes
1993 Body Bags Dead Bill TV movie
Journey to the Center of the Earth Collins
1994 The Stand Bobby Terry TV miniseries;
1 episode
1997 The Shining Howie Langston TV miniseries;
1 episode

Awards

See also

References

  1. ^ Luke Savage (March 7, 2013). "Sam Raimi interview: Oz, Warcraft, The Shadow, Spider-Man". Den of Geek. Dennis Publishing. Retrieved 2019. ...IMDB. They've added a name to me, they've called me Samuel Marshall Raimi, and I never knew I had a middle name. I have a middle initial, 'M'.
  2. ^ "JewishJournal.com". JewishJournal.com. Retrieved 2012.
  3. ^ "Sam Raimi's latest horror flick draws on 'true' tale, Jewish exorcism". Jewishjournal.com. Retrieved 2013.
  4. ^ "Spider's man - 'Spider-Man 2' director Sam Raimi is the antithesis of the Hollywood player -- a man whose essential decency is reflected, he hopes, in the character of Peter Parker", nytimes.com, June 27, 2004.
  5. ^ "Made In Michigan". thejewishnews.com. March 7, 2013.
  6. ^ "Sam Raimi: Man behind the mask". July 15, 2004.
  7. ^ "Sam Raimi profile". Filmreference.com. Retrieved 2012.
  8. ^ "Ted Raimi profile". Filmreference.com. Retrieved 2012.
  9. ^ Houser, Laura (February 16, 2013). "Macomb Co. Native Helps Organize Charity Premiere of 'Oz: The Great and Powerful'". Utica.Patch.com. Archived from the original on March 17, 2013. Retrieved 2013.
  10. ^ Feature: Spartans in Hollywood alumni.msu.edu Published: Spring 1999 Author:Erik Lunde and Gary Hoppenstand
  11. ^ Riekki, Ron; Sartain, Jeffrey A. (March 4, 2019). The Many Lives of The Evil Dead: Essays on the Cult Film Franchise. McFarland. ISBN 9781476636047.
  12. ^ Muir, John Kenneth (2004). The Unseen Force: The Films of Sam Raimi. Applause Theatre & Cinema Books. ISBN 9781557836076.
  13. ^ Markovitz, Adam (April 18, 2007). "'Hobbit' Forming?". Entertainment Weekly.
  14. ^ "Blizzard Press Release 7-22-2009". Blizzard. July 21, 2009. Archived from the original on July 23, 2009. Retrieved 2009.
  15. ^ Topel, Fred. "Comic Con 2012 Exclusive: Sam Raimi Won't Direct the World of Warcraft Movie". Crave Online. Retrieved 2012.
  16. ^ "Mandate Signs Sam Raimi to Oversee Refuge".
  17. ^ "Raimi shall Launche Spooky Pictures with 'The Substitute'".
  18. ^ "Neil Marshall Throwing the Gore Onscreen With 'Burst 3D'".
  19. ^ Dargis, Manohla (March 7, 2013). "'Oz the Great and Powerful,' Starring James Franco" – via NYTimes.com.
  20. ^ Oldham, Stuart (June 14, 2010). "Sam Raimi circles 'Wizard of Oz' prequel: helmer in talks for Disney's 'Powerful' pic". Variety.
  21. ^ "Chatter: Who Should Replace Sam Raimi as Director of the Oz Sequel?". Fandango.com. March 11, 2013.
  22. ^ "Cast Signed for 'Oz: The Great & Powerful' Sequel But Not Sam Raimi". firstshowing.net. March 11, 2013.
  23. ^ "Sam Raimi - Biography -- JewAge". www.jewage.org (in Russian). Retrieved 2018.
  24. ^ "Official Press Release: The Evil Dead Remake". Shock Till You Drop. July 13, 2011. Archived from the original on November 23, 2011. Retrieved 2012.
  25. ^ "Sam Raimi's Next Project is Army of Darkness 2?' Not Evil Dead 4". Screenrant.com. Retrieved 2013.
  26. ^ Alvarez, Fede (October 26, 2013). ""@thielebenjamin: Hey @fedalvar will you be directing the Army Of Darkness 2 movie?" Sam Raimi will!". Twitter.com.
  27. ^ "Bruce Campbell Wants to Set the Record Straight About Army of Darkness 2, And He Feels Bad for You". Shock Till You Drop. November 5, 2014.
  28. ^ "Sam Raimi to Predict a Terrible Future in 'World War 3' for Warner Bros". Retrieved 2017.
  29. ^ "Sam Raimi Ventures Into the Bermuda Triangle". February 16, 2017. Retrieved 2017.
  30. ^ Kroll, Justin; Kroll, Justin (January 29, 2018). "Sam Raimi to Direct 'Kingkiller Chronicle' for Lionsgate and Lin-Manuel Miranda (EXCLUSIVE)". Variety. Retrieved 2018.
  31. ^ "EXCLUSIVE: Sam Raimi No Longer Attached To Direct 'Kingkiller Chronicle' Movie". ScienceFiction.com. December 1, 2018. Retrieved 2018.
  32. ^ ""Spartacus: Blood and Sand" cast and crew". Retrieved 2010.
  33. ^ "Sam Raimi Directing "Ash vs Evil Dead" Pilot". Retrieved 2010.
  34. ^ Wells, Jeffrey. "Raimi and Bush". Hollywood Elsewhere. Retrieved 2019.

External links


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