Very sad news being reported around the world this morning that Curtis Hanson has died of natural causes at the age of 71.

The director began his Hollywood career co-writing the Roger Corman adaptation of H. P. Lovecraft’s The Dunwich Horror. He also worked as a journalist and talked about how this affected his work as a director. He told The A. V. Club, ‘That love of movies is very much alive in me. I approach the movies I make as a movie-lover as much as a movie-maker.’

He made his mark on the Hollywood skyline in the 90s with the influential thriller The Hand That Rocks the Cradle and The River Wild. His greatest success came in 1997 with his Oscar-winning adaptation of James Ellroy’s tough-as-nails 50s cop thriller L. A. Confidiential. In among the miasma of Tarantino wannabes Hanson’s blistering noir had an air of supreme confidence.

l a confidential

His adaptation of Michael Chabon’s Wonder Boys three years later gave Michael Douglas a great role in what was an ostensible failure, but once again showed the director’s penchant for getting the best out of his leading actors.

His later films, such as 8 Mile with Eminem, and In Her Shoes with Cameron Diaz and Toni Collette are fine evidence of a varied career and an adaptable talent. One that will most certainly be missed.