Damien Shazell (born 19 January 1985, Providence, Rhode Island, USA) is an American independent filmmaker and screenwriter, best known for his films "Obsession" and "La La Land," the last of which became an Oscar winner "For the best direction (the youngest winner in this category in the history of the award).
Damien Shazell was born in the state capital of Rhode Island - Providence. His father, Bernard, is a professor of mathematics at Princeton University, a Frenchman by birth, originally from Clamart. Mom is a historian, a specialist in the Middle Ages and a writer of American and Canadian origin. As the film director later noted, he grew up in a peculiar atmosphere, which combined quite different scientific views and interests.
From an early age (he said, from the age of three) he wanted to make films and sometimes invented his own stories. His parents did not interfere with his enthusiasm.
His dad was a perennial and devoted fan of jazz, and at the school, Damien started playing drums on his drums. He liked the mythology of jazz, and also that his basic element - improvisation - requires the highest level of skill. Trying to reach him, he practiced percussion instruments literally before bloody calluses. However, according to the director, he still did not feel that he could become a great musician.
The first tape 24-year-old director - the musical "Guy and Madeline on a bench in the park" (2009) - told a story about two lovers who after parting could not forget each other. In production, Shazell also acted as a screenwriter, producer, cameraman, editor and even the author of words for the musical compositions of his friend Justin Hurwitz, with whom he once played together in a student musical ensemble.
In 2013, the beginning director co-wrote the script of the horror "The Last Exorcism of the Devil: The Second Coming" and the independent scriptwriter of the thriller "Solemn Final", where he presented an action-dramatic story that happened at the first concert of a pianist who barely recovered from the fear of the stage. In the sheet music score, he found a note threatening to kill his wife in case he stops playing or makes a mistake in the note.
In an interview of those years, Shazell confessed that he did not want to be a "writer for hire" and wanted to write his own story. As a result, the screenplay of the film "Obsession" appeared. The script aroused the interest of the producers, but no one dared to film it, so at the end of the year he entered the "Black List" (a list of the best non-screened scenarios). In the end, producer Helen Estabruk, who invited JK Simmons for the role of Terence Fletcher, took over. A short film in which the idea of the future film was shown was shown at the Sundance Film Festival in 2013 and received critical reviews by winning the festival's prize for the best short film.
In January 2015, the feature film "Obsession" won five Oscar nominations, including the award for the best-adapted Shazella scenario. As a result, the tape took three "Oscars", "Golden Globe" and three BAFTA awards.
In 2016, the screenshots of the fantastical horror "Cloverfield, 10", made two years earlier, was co-authored by Damien.
The top of the creative search for a young man was released in the rental of his third full-length film La La Land. The premiere screening of the film took place at the Venice Film Festival. The main roles in the musical, narrating about the pianist and the beginning actress, were performed by Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone. Shazell loved musicals from childhood. He was literally obsessed with the legendary dancer Fred Aster and his partner Ginger Rogers, the "king of Hollywood musicals" Stanley Donen and Vincent Minelli. But in his interpretation of the musical, the main thing was not vocal and choreography, but an opportunity to express and convey with their help very important things - the call to serve his art and follow the dream.
It is noteworthy that the literary and dramatic basis for the production of the picture Shazell wrote back in the 2010 year, but could not find an investor, as he did not agree to make changes to the script. Only after the success of "Obsession" movie studio Summit Entertainment decided to finance and La La Land.
Shazell is a second marriage. With his ex-wife Jasmine McGlade, he met in his student years. In 2010 year they got married, and after 4 years left, but remained friends and business partners. In 2015, the young man met his new wife, actress and entrepreneur Olivia Hamilton. She is a graduate of Princeton University, holds a diploma in economics and finance. At one time she worked as a consultant to the consulting company McKinsey & Company, then she participated in Damien's projects. When his film was awarded in 14 nominations for Oscar, she was the first to welcome him with this news, sending an SMS message to Beijing, where he was with the promotion of the picture.
With the "La Lend" connected by the awkward situation that arose at the ceremony of awarding the Academy Awards - he was mistakenly declared the winner in the category "best film". The oversight was discovered and voiced by the organizers later, when in vain (as it turned out) the representatives of the musical performed on the stage with a thank-you speech. And the main prize of the ceremony went to the movie "Moonlight" by Barry Jenkins. Nevertheless, although the tape did not win the "best film" nomination, Damien took the statuette for the best director, becoming the youngest American Academy Award winner for this nomination.
24 March 2018 year began postproduction of the biographical picture "The First Man", dedicated to the first astronaut on the moon Nile Armstrong. The premiere is scheduled for October 12.