ALAN RUDOLPH (Writer/Director), an influential pioneer of American independent filmmaking since the 1970's, is known for his moody visual style and striking musical scores, as well as his ability to garner outstanding performances from his actors, with whom he often works with as part of an ensemble. An undying romantic, Rudolph often sets his sights on offbeat characters-the loveless, the dreamers, artists and bohemians, people who feel that life has passed them by, and people who yearn for something better.
The son of director Oscar Rudolph, Alan Rudolph grew up in the film industry, quitting college to learn about filmmaking by watching studio people at work. Rudolph began a long and fruitful collaboration with Robert Altman when he signed on as assistant director on Altman's "The Long Goodbye" (1973). He worked as assistant director on two more of Altman's features, "California Split" (1974) and "Nashville" (1975), and together, Rudolph and Altman wrote the screenplay for "Buffalo Bill and the Indians or Sitting Bull's History Lesson" (1976), which captured the Golden Bear at the Berlin Film Festival.
Rudolph then set out to carve a distinguished writing and directing path of his own, starting with "Welcome to L.A." (1976), which Altman produced. The film features Keith Carradine as a songwriter (with music by "Nashville"s Richard Baskin), and a cast that includes Geraldine Chaplin, Lauren Hutton, Harvey Keitel, Sissy Spacek, and Sally Kellerman.
He followed with "Remember My Name" (1978), starring Geraldine Chaplin as a woman released from prison who follows the man who has abandoned her. The film's powerful score was by celebrated blues legend Alberta Hunter. Music became the subject of Rudolph's next film, "Roadie" (1980) featuring Meat Loaf in the title role, and such performers as Alice Cooper, Blondie and Roy Orbison.
Unable to raise funds for his own screenplays, Rudolph loaned himself out as a director-for-hire on such projects as "Endangered Species" (1982), "Songwriter" (1984) and "Made in Heaven." Rudolph's "Return Engagement" (1983) documented the debates between 1960's free spirit Dr. Timothy Leary and infamous Watergater G. Gordon Liddy.
"Choose Me" (1984) marked Rudolph's successful return to his true independent vision and style. The film, starring Keith Carradine, Genevieve Bujold, and Lesley Ann Warren, is a theatrical melodrama about tangled destinies as lovers meet at a Los Angeles singles lounge. Considered one of Rudolph's best films, "Choose Me" was inspired by Teddy Pendergrass' title song. "Trouble in Mind" (1985), set sometime in the future in a town called Rain City, featured Kris Kristofferson, Lori Singer, Divine and Rudolph regulars Geraldine Chaplin, Keith Carradine, and Genevieve Bujold.
"The Moderns" (1988), centering on the 1920s literary scene in Paris was a foreshadowing of Rudolph's 1994 film "Mrs. Parker and the Vicious Circle" (1994), an exploration of the life of writer-humorist Dorothy Parker (Jennifer Jason Leigh) and her literary cohorts. The film, which was his most expensive to date at $7 million, earned Leigh a Golden Globe nomination and the Best Actress honor from the National Society of Film Critics.
His other films include: "Love at Large" (1989), about a private detective (Tom Berenger) who is hired by a mysterious woman (Anne Archer); "Mortal Thoughts" (1991), about a murder investigation led by a cop (Harvey Keitel), who tries to find out whether two women (Demi Moore and Glenne Headly) murdered the first woman's husband (Bruce Willis); "Equinox" (1992), features Matthew Modine playing dual roles, alongside Lara Flynn Boyle, Marisa Tomei, and Lori Singer.
In the course of his career, Rudolph has developed an untraditional means of fashioning narratives. His stories tend to follow structures that are closer to music-themes repeated with variations, parallels-than to typical patterns. Perhaps the clearest example of that is 1997's "Afterglow," which counterpoints two sexually impoverished married couples-yuppies (Lara Flynn Boyle and Jonny Lee Miller) and middle-aged blue-collars (Julie Christie and Nick Nolte)-as their paths cross and lives are overturned. "Afterglow" won Julie Christie many acting honors, including Best Actress from the New York Film Critics' Circle and an Oscar nomination.
Rudolph's most recent film was "Breakfast of Champions," based on Kurt Vonnegut's novel and starring Bruce Willis, Nick Nolte, Albert Finney and Barbara Hershey.
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