Directing Careers Launched by Roger Corman

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Roger Corman
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Roger Corman

Roger Corman, the Hollywood king of the B-movie, has been in the business for close to 60 years, involved in over 300 films and credited with launching the careers of big-name actors such as Robert De Niro and Jack Nicholson. In "Corman's World: Exploits of a Hollywood Rebel," a documentary honoring the legend set for release Friday, December 16, 2011, director Alex Stapleton takes a look at Corman's past contributions and his influence on film today.

In addition to introducing the world to a number of actors, many famous directors also got their start with Corman's help. Below are some of the most notable:

James Cameron

The director of "Titanic" and "Avatar," two of the highest-grossing films of all time, first got his start as a miniature-model maker at Roger Corman Studios. What he learned from working on these low-budget indie films carried over into his greater pieces as understanding of what works efficiently and what doesn't when it comes to entertainment.

Francis Ford Coppola

Best known for directing "The Godfather" trilogy, Francis Ford Coppola was Corman's assistant early in his career. Coppola was involved in such Corman films as "Battle Beyond the Sun," "Tower of London," and "The Terror." The first movie Coppola directed from a screenplay he created -- "Dementia 13" -- was brought into existence with Corman's funding.

Ron Howard

Ron Howard, well known for such films as "A Beautiful Mind "and "The Da Vinci Code," along with producing and narrating the popular television comedy series "Arrested Development," also has Corman to thank for kick starting his directing career. Howard made a deal with the producer that if he could direct one film, he'd star in another. So, Howard was able to make his directing debut in 1977 with "Grand Theft Auto."

Curtis Hanson

"L.A. Confidential" director Curtis Hanson can trace his early film career roots to Roger Corman through "The Dunwich Horror." This film version of the H.P. Lovecraft short story was co-written by Hanson and produced by Corman. Impressed with his work, Corman would later produce "Sweet Kill," the first movie written and directed by Hanson.

Martin Scorsese

Yes, Martin Scorsese, one of the most influential directors of all time and known for a number of great films ("Goodfellas," "Taxi Driver," etc.) got his start in Corman's B-Movies. His work on "Boxcar Bertha," one of Corman's many exploitation films, was said to have prepared Scorsese for his work on "Mean Streets." An understanding of how to create good films on small budgets with a limited amount of time would help him greatly in the future.

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