Birthdate: October 24, 1943
Birthplace: Hastings, New Zealand
A reliable professional capable of solid mainstream action movies, Martin Campbell spent decades in the trenches of sex comedies and genre TV until his breakthrough in the Gary Oldman-Kevin Bacon legal thriller, Criminal Law (1988). This led to another legal thriller, Defenseless (1991), with Barbara Hershey, Sam Shepard, and Mary Beth Hurt. Campbell’s rep as a strong action director was established by the Ray Liotta-starring prison thriller, No Escape (1994), quickly followed by Campbell’s first James Bond movie, GoldenEye (1995), with Pierce Brosnan.
Martin Campbell waited eleven years until he handled another Bond spectacular, this one—Casino Royale (2006), the first to star Daniel Craig—considered by many Bond files as the best in the entire series. In between these assignments, Campbell directed the smash hits The Mask of Zorro (1998) and The Legend of Zorro (2005), both starring Antonio Banderas and Catherine Zeta-Jones at the height of their sex appeal, as well as the mountain climbing thriller, Vertical Limit (2000), co-starring Bill Paxton, Chris O’Donnell, and Scott Glenn; and the international drama, Beyond Borders (2003) with Angelina Jolie and Clive Owen.
Although he stopped his string of Bond and Zorro movies, Martin Campbell has continued to deliver commercial entertainments, albeit with erratic box-office results: The Mel Gibson-starring noir, Edge of Darkness (2010, a remake of Campbell’s successful BBC-TV series of the same title), and the anticipated though disappointing DC Comics superhero movie, Green Lantern (2011) with Ryan Reynolds as Hal Jordan/Green Lantern, and Blake Lively, Tim Robbins, and Taika Waititi.
Campbell’s recent work includes The Foreigner (2017) with Jackie Chan (playing a not-so-chopsocky Vietnamese father), and The Protégé (2021), with the diverse cast of Maggie Q (as an Irma Vep-ish contract killer), Michael Keaton, Samuel L. Jackson, and Robert Patrick. Martin Campbell returned in 2022 with Liam Neeson in the thriller, Memory, based on the fine 2003 Belgian drama, The Memory of a Killer, and featuring Monica Bellucci and Guy Pearce.
Raised in New Zealand, Campbell relocated to London to train in cinematography. He has been married three times; previously to Diana Hardcastle and Valarie Trapp, and since 2006, to the female Mexican-Swiss actor Sol Romero. The couple has three children–Elina, Fabrice, and Tomas Campbell. His height is 5’ 10”.
Campbell, Martin Campbell: As helmer of Casino Royale, Campbell became the oldest director of Bond movies.
Two Bonds: Martin Campbell is one of the few filmmakers to direct two different actors in the role of James Bond: Pierce Brosnan in GoldenEye, and Daniel Craig in Casino Royale.
To The Birds: Campbell was attached as director of a remake of Alfred Hitchcock’s classic, The Birds (1963), but dropped out after two years.