Also Credited As:Neil Patrick Jordan
About Neil Jordan
Born on Feb. 25, 1950 in Rosses Point, County Sligo, Ireland, Jordan grew up in Clontarf, near Dublin Bay, and was raised by his father, Michael, a teacher, and his mother, Angela, a painter. Forbidden to watch television and only allowed to attend the cinema twice a month, Jordan found solace in literature, though he proved to be a slow learner in school. Following his attendance at a local primary school in Clontarf, he advanced to the private Roman Catholic secondary school, St. Paul's College in Raheny, a northern suburb of Dublin. On the move again, Jordan attended University College at the National University of Ireland in Dublin, where he studied medieval literature and history. He also fell into the orbit of the drama society, but remained largely an outsider. After graduating in 1971, he had difficulty finding a job and was forced to work as a laborer, though he wrote short stories at night. A couple of years later, he joined forces with fellow classmate and future director Jim Sheridan to put on plays in and around Dublin, including "Journal of a Hole" and "Oedipus Rex." Also around this time, Jordan brought in some extra bread playing saxophone and banjo for a band called Eilis.
But through it all, Jordan remained singularly dedicated to his writing. He eventually published his first novel, Night in Tunisia (1976), which led to writing for television and radio. Eventually, director John Boorman - who was impressed with Jordan's collection of stories - hired him to be a creative consultant on "Excalibur" (1981). Even more beneficial, Boorman asked him to direct a documentary about the making of the Arthurian drama, which in turn led to financing Jordan's first feature "Angel" (1982), a dark and brooding crime thriller about a saxophone player (Stephen Rea) who becomes a killer himself when tracking down a deaf girl's murderers. "Angel" marked the first of many collaborations with Irish actor Stephen Rea. It also served as Jordan's first brush with controversy, when Boorman decided to fund the film while also serving as the chairman of the Irish Film Board, which provided a portion of the money. Angry critics charged Jordan and Boorman with conflict of interest, even though Boorman had decided to resign his chairmanship prior the board's decision to fund the film.
Meanwhile, after a haunting, Freudian revamping of Little Red Riding Hood with "The Company of Wolves" (1985), Jordan broke through with "Mona Lisa" (1986), an absorbing tale of obsessive love between a mob flunky (Bob Hoskins) and a high-end prostitute (Cathy Tyson) that transformed the career of the little-known Hoskins and garnered the director his first real international recognition. The film brought Jordan offers to work in Hollywood and he eventually directed the supernatural comedy, "High Spirits" (1988), a huge flop, that in hindsight, was perhaps better off not being made at all. His experience on the remake of "We're No Angels" (1989), which packaged Robert De Niro and Sean Penn in a script by David Mamet, proved to also be a disappointment, leading him to a return to Ireland, where he tackled the difficult subject of mother-son incest in "The Miracle" (1991), based on his award-winning story, Night in Tunisia. Though it received mixed reviews, the film nonetheless reinvigorated Jordan's creativity while also foreshadowing the greatness that was to come.
For his next film, Jordan delivered a clever mixture of politics and sexual intrigue in "The Crying Game" (1992), an independently made political thriller that almost failed to find distribution, but was picked up by Miramax and became a stunning cultural and commercial success. Teaming once again with Stephen Rea, Jordan spun the tale of an IRA kidnapper (Rea), who captures a British soldier (Forrest Whitaker) in order to trade him for one of their own, only to fall for the soldier's girlfriend (Jaye Davidson). Intriguing and full of surprises, "The Crying Game" possessed one of the most talked about plot twists in the history of film. Finally earning the recognition he deserved, Jordan pulled in an Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay after a total of six Oscar nods. Jordan returned to Hollywood triumphant and used his newly-acquired clout to land the plum assignment of adapting Anne Rice's tricky bestseller, "Interview with the Vampire" (1994). Once he landed the cast he wanted - Brad Pitt, Antonio Banderas and the controversial choice of Tom Cruise as the vampire Lestat - Jordan delivered a film thematically consistent with his earlier work: a dank, downbeat tone meshed with sexuality and metaphysical musings. The result garnered mixed if generally favorable reviews and performed well at the box office.
Thanks to his new association with Warner Bros., Jordan was able to realize his most cherished project, which had gestated for more than a decade. The epic story of "Michael Collins" (1996) had frustrated filmmakers for nearly four decades, with individuals from John Ford and John Huston to Robert Redford and Kevin Costner attempting to bring a biopic based on the life of the IRA leader and still-controversial Irish hero to the screen. Full of action and period detail, "Collins" drew comparisons to "The Godfather" (1972), though there was the inevitable controversy when both English and Irish audiences found fault with its interpretation and condensation of historical facts. Celebrated cinematographer Chris Menges volunteered to lens the movie, providing the rich earth tones and mobile camera work that the director's vision demanded. Meanwhile, Jordan had wanted Liam Neeson for the title role ever since completing the screenplay in 1983, despite the actor's then low-profile. Once the film came to fruition, Neeson justified this undying faith, generating his strongest notices since "Schindler's List" (1993). All told, "Michael Collins" demonstrated impeccable detail to time and place, while becoming the second highest-grossing movie in Ireland's history.
Jordan next directed "The Butcher Boy" (1997), a dark psychological drama about a disturbed young Irish boy (Eamonn Owens) who begins having visions of the Virgin Mary (Sinead O'Connor) while working as a butcher's assistant, which leads him down the path to murder. Unfortunately, his next film, "In Dreams" (1999), proved a muddled and overblown affair in its story of a woman (Annette Bening) linked through psychic thoughts to a serial killer (Robert Downey, Jr.). That same year saw him tackle the remake of the Graham Greene novel "The End of the Affair" (1999) for Columbia Pictures. A love triangle set in wartime England, it starred Ralph Fiennes, Julianne Moore and Stephen Rea, and offered Jordan the opportunity to intriguingly examine a romance from two points of view. After directing his own one-act play, "White Horses" (2001), for the Gate Theater in Dublin, Jordan delivered an atmospheric remake of Jean-Pierre Melville's "Bob le Flambeur" (1955) with "The Good Thief" (2003), an engrossing crime drama about a rumpled con and recovering heroin addict (Nick Nolte) striking up an odd relationship with a young prostitute (Nutsa Kukhianidze) while plotting a major heist at a Monte Carlo casino.
Returning to the world of the IRA and transsexuals, Jordan directed "Breakfast on Pluto" (2005), a wry, charming, but bittersweet tale about a transsexual prostitute (Cillian Murphy) trying to stay true to herself, while old friends return to town on IRA business. He underwhelmed audiences and critics with his next film, "The Brave One" (2007), which depicted a game Jodie Foster as a soon-to-be-married woman-turned-vigilante plunging herself into a world of unrelenting violence in order to find the attackers who killed her fiancé (Naveen Andrews). Jordan next helmed "Ondine" (2010), a dark fantasy drama about an Irish fisherman (Colin Farrell) who nets a woman (Alicja Bachleda-Curus) he believes is actually a mermaid after good fortune starts coming his way. In a rare turn to television, Jordan created and executive produced "The Borgias" (Showtime, 2011- ), an historical drama chronicling the infamous Borgia family, led by the scheming Rodrigo Borgia (Jeremy Irons), an ambitious clergyman who bribes his way into the papacy to become Pope Alexander VI. While writing a number of episodes during the season, Jordan also directed the pilot, which earned him an Emmy Award nomination for Outstanding Directing for a Drama Series.
|Beverly D'Angelo. Acted in Jordan's "The Miracle" (1991); no longer together|
|Brenda Rawn. Together since c. 1988; mother of three of Jordan's children|
|Vivienne Shields. Mother of his two daughters; divorced|
|Anna Jordan. Mother, Vivienne Jordan|
|Sarah Jordan. Mother, Vivienne Jordan|
|Michael Jordan. Died in 1984|
|Ben Jordan. Born c. 1990; Jordon was briefly involved with his mother, named Mary|
|Daniel Jordan. Born c. 1992; mother, Brenda Rawn|
|St. Paul’s College, Dublin|
|University College, National University of Ireland, Dublin|
|Produced Showtime's historical drama "The Borgias," starring Jeremy Irons as Rodrigo Borgia, also known as Pope Alexander VI|
|Directed Colin Farrell as an Irish fisherman who discovers a woman in his fishing net who he believes to be a mermaid in "Ondine"|
|Directed Jodie Foster in the crime drama "The Brave One"|
|Directed "Breakfast on Pluto," starring Cillian Murphy as Patrick "Pussy" Braden, a transvestite prostitute|
|Directed the thriller "The Good Thief," starring Nick Nolte as an aging gambler who attempts to rob a casino in the South of France|
|Directed his own one-act stage play "White Horses" at Dublin's Gate Theater|
|Produced (with Woolley), adapted and directed the remake of Graham Greene's The End of the Affair"; eighth collaboration with Rea, who played the husband of Julianne Moore|
|Directed and co-scripted, from Bari Wood's novel Doll's Eyes, the supernatural thriller "In Dreams," starring Annette Bening and Robert Downey Jr.|
|Co-adapted (with novelist Patrick McCabe) and directed "The Butcher Boy"; Rea played dual role of Mr. Brady and the adult incarnation of the title character|
|Directed Liam Neeson as the Irish patriot "Michael Collins"; also co-starred Aidan Quinn and Stephen Rea|
|Directed Tom Cruise and Brad Pitt in "Interview with a Vampire"; adapted by Anne Rice from her novel of the same name|
|Had international success with "The Crying Game," starring Stephen Rea and Miranda Richardson; received an Oscar nomination for Best Director|
|Returned to filmmaking with "The Miracle," based on his story, Night in Tunisia|
|Filmed a segment for ABC's "Red, Hot and Blue," a televised variety salute to the music of Cole Porter that also promoted AIDS awareness|
|Directed first feature he did not write script for, "We're No Angels"; screenplay by David Mamet|
|Directed first American film, "High Spirits"; also wrote screenplay|
|Made producing debut as co-executive producer of the Irish-made, "The Courier"|
|Enjoyed breakthrough success with "Mona Lisa," starring Bob Hoskins|
|Teamed with producer Stephen Woolley for "The Company of Wolves"|
|Feature directorial debut, "Angel"; initial collaboration with actor Stephen Rea|
|First screenplay credit, "Traveller"; shot by director Joe Comerford in 16mm|
|Hired as creative consultant on John Boorman's "Excalibur"; also shot a documentary on the making of the film|
|Wrote three plays for Irish TV, one of which, "Night in Tunisia," was based on his collection of stories under the same name|
|Received a grant from the British Arts Council|
|Co-founded the Irish Writers Co-operative, which helped to publish local authors|
|Wrote first novel, The Past|