Veteran and beloved filmmaker Joel Schumacher has died at the age of 80 after a year-long battle with cancer.
Having started out his career as a costume designer, Schumacher soon saw his love of film take him in a new direction landing up in the director’s chair. He rose to fame after directing three hit films that wrapped up the 80s’ in a nutshell with 1985s’ ‘St. Elmo’s Fire’ which starred Brat packers, Rob Lowe, Emilio Estevez alongside Andrew McCarthy, Demi Moore, Judd Nelson, Ally Sheedy, and Mare Winningham. It centres on a clique of recent graduates of Washington, D.C.’s Georgetown University, and their adjustment to post-university life and the responsibilities of adulthood.
The Vampire classic ‘The Lost Boys’ followed in 1987, it starred Corey Haim, Jason Patric, Kiefer Sutherland, Jami Gertz, Corey Feldman, Dianne Wiest, Edward Herrmann, Alex Winter, Jamison Newlander, and Barnard Hughes. The film was a critical and commercial success, grossing over $32 million against a production budget of $8.5 million and is still a cult classic all these years later.
In 1990, Schumacher reunited with Sutherland on ‘Flatliners’ a story about five medical students who attempt to find out what lies beyond death by conducting clandestine experiments that produce near-death experiences. Julia Roberts, William Baldwin, Oliver Platt, and Kevin Bacon also starred.
In 1993, he signed on to direct instalments of the ‘Batman’ film series, ‘Batman Forever’ and ‘Batman & Robin’. Once his run was over on the comic book hero, Schumacher pulled back from blockbusters and returned to making minimalist films such as ‘Tigerland’ and ‘Phone Booth’, both earning positive reviews. He also directed ‘The Phantom of the Opera’ ‘The Number 23’ (2007), and two episodes of ‘House of Cards’.
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Schumacher was also known for casting young performers and helped several actors including Colin Farrell, Kiefer Sutherland, and Matthew McConaughey advance their careers.
A number of stars have taken to social media and other avenues to pay their respects to the late filmmaker; including Jim Carrey, Kiefer Sutherland and McConaughey.
Joel Schumacher has passed away. He saw deeper things in me than most and he lived a wonderfully creative and heroic life. I am grateful to have had him as a friend. pic.twitter.com/7kOeJ96rL8
— Jim Carrey (@JimCarrey) June 22, 2020
— Kiefer Sutherland (@RealKiefer) June 22, 2020
In an exclusive statement to Variety, McConaughey paid tribute to Schumacher gave him his thanks for kickstarting his career:
“Joel not only took a chance on me, he fought for me. Knowing the studio might never approve a relatively unknown like myself for the lead in ‘A Time to Kill,’ he set up a secret screen test for me on a Sunday morning in a small unknown studio because as he stated, ‘Even if you do great, you may not get the part, so I don’t want the industry to ever think you screen-tested and DID NOT get the job.’
I remember on days where I would be having a tough time on the set, he would always remind me with the most simple and sound advice a director could give a young man, ‘Hey, you are Jake Brigance. You, Matthew, are the character.’
I don’t see how my career could have gone to the wonderful places it has if it wasn’t for Joel Schumacher believing in me back then.”