Birthdate: April 9, 1975
Birthplace: Little Rock, Arkansas, USA
David Gordon Green (birthname: David Gordon Green) began his filmmaking career on the wave of exceptional praise for his debut feature, George Washington (2000), and has defied expectations ever since with a wildly eclectic roster of disparate movies, from the wild antics of Pineapple Express (2008) to the supposed finale, Halloween Ends (2022), starring Jamie Lee Curtis.
His second film as writer-director, All the Real Girls (2003), starring Patricia Clarkson, Zooey Deschanel, and Paul Schneider, followed through on the promise of his wildly praised debut, solidifying the impression that Green could be the successor to the art-cinema style of Terrence Malick, with whom he was frequently compared.
Indeed, Green adapted a Malick story (written under the pseudonym of Lingard Jervey) for his third feature, which was also produced by Malick: Undertow (2004), with Jamie Bell, Dermot Mulroney, and Josh Lucas, his first feature to receive somewhat poor reviews. David Gordon Green’s fourth writer-director feature, Snow Angels (2007), earned much better reviews after its Sundance premiere, with a fine cast including Kate Beckinsale, Sam Rockwell, Michael Angarano, Griffin Dunne, and Tom Noonan.
Also in 2007, Green served as producer on two outstanding indie features launching the excellent careers of writer-directors Jeff Nichols (Shotgun Stories) and Craig Zobel (Great World of Sound). David Gordon Green made a radical artistic shift in 2008 with the raucous cult-hit stoner comedy, Pineapple Express, for which he only directed, with leads Seth Rogen and James Franco. Green, reunited with Franco, continued the comic stoner theme in Your Highness (2011), co-starring Danny McBride, Natalie Portman, and Zooey Deschanel, but was, unfortunately, a bomb for Universal Pictures.
Also unfortunate for Green was his next film as director, the critically lambasted The Sitter (2011), starring Jonah Hill, J.B. Smoove, and Sam Rockwell, and produced by Michael De Luca. After losing artistic control of his previous three features to the studios backing them—David Gordon Green regained his artistic stride by adapting the Icelandic film, Either Way, for the indie comedy-drama, Prince Avalanche (2013), starring Paul Rudd and Emile Hirsch; the film premiered at the Sundance Film Festival and won Best Director at the Berlin Film Festival, earning an 82% Rotten Tomatoes rating.
Around this same time, Green began to serve as executive producer on a string of indie films, most notable among them being Craig Zobel’s magnificent drama, Compliance (2012), featuring a stunning performance by Ann (The Handmaid’s Tale) Dowd; and Rick Alverson’s caustic The Comedy (2012), with Tim Heidecker and Kate Lyn Shiel. Later in 2013, Green produced and directed one of his best films, a sensitive adaptation of Larry Brown’s fiction, Joe, starring Nicolas Cage and Tye Sheridan, premiering at the Venice Film Festival.
Returning to Venice in 2014, David Gordon Green co-produced and directed the Texas-based Manglehorn, with the distinctive cast of Al Pacino, Holly Hunter, Harmony Korine, and Chris Messina. Green partnered as director only with producers George Clooney and Grant Heslov for a fine, black-comic adaptation of Rachel Boynton’s documentary about electioneering, Our Brand is Crisis (2015), starring Sandra Bullock, Billy Bob Thornton, Anthony Mackie, Joaquim de Almeida, Ann Dowd, and Zoe Kazan.
Green’s first screenplay-only credit was the Andrew Neel-directed boxing drama, Goat (2016), with Ben Schnetzer, Nick Jonas, and producer James Franco, followed by the emotional biopic, Stronger (2017), on which Green served as director only, with co-producer Jake Gyllenhaal leading the cast.
Since 2018, David Gordon Green has functioned as writer-director and executive producer (with creative partner Danny McBride) of the rebooted, Blumhouse-backed Halloween franchise, which has grossed a combined $390 million worldwide gross—by far the best returns of Green’s career. They include Halloween (2018), with Jamie Lee Curtis, Judy Greer, and Will Patton; and Halloween Kills (2021), with Curtis, Greer, Patton, and Anthony Michael Hall. The trilogy apparently concluded in 2022 with Halloween Ends.
David Gordon Green wasn’t done with horror, and packed with Universal and Blumhouse to make a trilogy of films designed to be sequels to William Friedkin’s classic, The Exorcist (1973), with a cast including the original’s Ellen Burstyn and also Ann Dowd and Leslie Odom Jr.; the first film was set to be released in 2023. Alongside this is an untitled documentary project, directed by Green, chronicling Walt Disney during the creation and building of Disneyland. Green directed Don Johnson (who’s also credited as a co-writer) on the football drama, Score (date to be announced).
David Gordon Green was born in Little Rock, Arkansas, and raised in Richardson, Texas by parents Hubert Gordon Green and Jean Ann Green. His father was the dean of a medical school, while his mother was a Lamaze instructor. Green graduated from Richardson West Junior High School and Richardson High School; he then studied cinema and graduated from the University of North Carolina School of the Arts. His height is 5’ 7½”.
Hall of Fame: David Gordon Green was inducted into the Texas Film Hall of Fame in 2014.
Cinematography Streak: David Gordon Green had perhaps one of the longest continuous director-cinematographer collaborations in recent indie and Hollywood film production, working with cinematographer Tim Orr on eleven straight features from 2000 to 2015, starting with George Washington and ending with Our Brand is Crisis.