Daldry, Stephen 1961-
Daldry, Stephen 1961-
(Stephen David Daldry)
Born May 2, 1961, in Dorset, England; son of Patrick (a banker) and Cherry (a singer) Daldry; married Lucy Sexton (a dancer), October 18, 2001; children: Annabel Clare. Education: University of Sheffield, B.A.
Home—New York, NY, and Hertfordshire, England. Office—c/o Hamilton Asper Management Ltd., 24 Hanway St., London W1T 1UH, England.
Crucible Theatre, Sheffield, England, director, 1985-88; Gate Theatre, London, England, director, 1990-92; Royal Court Theatre, London, artistic director, 1992-97. Director of films and stage plays. Producer of films, including Mickybo and Me, 2004, and Guy X, 2005.
Society of Directors.
London Evening Standard Theatre Award for best director and London Critics Circle Theatre Award for best director, both 1992, both for An Inspector Calls; Laurence Olivier Theatre Award for best director, Royal National Theatre, 1993, for An Inspector Calls, and 1994, for Machinal; Tony Award for best director, 1994, for An Inspector Calls; Alexander Korda Award for Best British Film, British Academy of Film and Television Arts Awards, 2001, for Billy Elliot; Academy Award nomination for best director, 2001, for Billy Elliot, and 2003, for The Hours; Commander of the British Empire, 2004.
DIRECTOR OF FILMS
Eight (short film; also see below), Working Title Films, 1998.
Billy Elliot, Universal Focus, 2000.
The Hours, Miramax Films, 2002.
(With others) Cinema16 (anthology; includes Eight), 2003.
The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay, 2007.
DIRECTOR OF PLAYS
Ragged Trousered Philanthropists, produced in England, 1988.
Judgement Day, produced in London, 1989.
Figaro Gets Divorced, produced in London, 1990.
Cutting Room, produced in London at the Royal Court Theatre, 1990.
One Man in Marzibah and Rousseau's Tale, produced in London, 1991.
Damned for Despair, produced in London, 1991.
(With Annie Castledine) Pioneers in Ingolstadt, produced in London, 1991.
(With Annie Castledine) Purgatory in Ingolstadt, produced in London, 1991.
An Inspector Calls, produced in London at the National Theatre, 1992; produced on Broadway, 1994.
Search and Destroy, produced in London at the Royal Court Theatre, 1993.
Machinal, produced in London at the Royal Court Theatre, 1993.
The Kitchen, produced in London at the Royal Court Theatre, 1994.
The Editing Process, produced in London at the Royal Court Theatre, 1994.
Rat in the Skull, produced in London, 1995.
The Libertine, produced in London at the Royal Court Theatre, 1995.
The Man of Mode, produced in London at the Royal Court Theatre, 1995.
"This Is a Chair," produced in London, 1997.
Via Dolorosa, produced in London at the Royal Court Theatre, 1998; produced on Broadway, 1999.
Far Away, produced in London at the Royal Court Theatre, 2000; produced off-Broadway, 2002.
A Number, produced in London at the Royal Court Theatre, 2002; produced off-Broadway, 2002.
Billy Elliot the Musical, produced in London at the Victoria Palace Theatre, 2005.
Director of The Europeans, 1993, Body Talk, 1996, and The Fleisser Plays.
Stephen Daldry is an award-winning director of films and stage plays. After a successful career as the artistic director at two of London's most prestigious theaters, the Gate Theatre and the Royal Court Theatre, he gained even wider recognition as a film director. His first major film was Billy Elliot, a movie about an eleven-year-old boy who becomes consumed with the desire to become a ballet dancer, amid a harsh home life in working-class England. Because his recently widowed father, a coal miner, disapproves of such a career, Billy trains in secret with a tough but inspiring mentor. Ultimately, he auditions for England's Royal Ballet School. The film earned Daldry an Academy Award nomination for best director. Noting the film's somewhat predictable themes of perseverance and triumph over adversity, New York Times critic A.O. Scott stated that Daldry "overcomes the occasional sententiousness of … [the] script" and ably captures how Billy's dancing conveys "both his imprisonment and his furious, temporary freedom." Several years after the release of the film, Daldry staged a musical version of Billy Elliot at the Victoria Theatre in London, which was also a success. Calling it a "polished production," in a review for Dance magazine, Margaret Willis praised Daldry for "sacrificing none of [the film's] fire or empathy" in adapting it for the stage.
Daldry repeated the success of Billy Elliot with his next film, The Hours, which was based on the novel of the same name by Michael Cunningham, and garnered Daldry a second Academy Award nomination for best director. Loosely adapted from Virginia Woolf's novel Mrs. Dalloway, The Hours starred Nicole Kidman as Woolf, along with Meryl Streep and Julianne Moore as more contemporary versions of Woolf's fictional Mrs. Dalloway. All of them portray women struggling with their roles as spouses and lovers who are suffering the anguish of depression and misplaced desire. Stephen Holden, reviewing the film in the New York Times, credited Daldry with "accomplishing the virtually impossible feat of bringing to the screen that novel's introspective essence."
Many critics have commented on what they feel is Daldry's intensely personal vision in his work, yet Daldry himself has stated that they miss the point. In an interview with Michael Billington in the Guardian, Daldry said, "When I made Billy Elliot, people asked me, ‘Oh, did you want to be a dancer when you were young, then?’ I didn't even like dance before I made the film. … ‘Is it based on someone?’ No. We made it up. We just made it up. The act of making something up seems to be very difficult these days." In regard to The Hours, he continued: "I get frustrated about it because they say, ‘How can a man talk about women?’ I say, ‘Steven Spielberg didn't need to be an alien to talk about ET. You don't need to be a dog to direct Lassie.’ It seems to be a denial of the process of imagination, which is a posh word for ‘guesswork.’"
Despite his success in the film world, Daldry has stated that he has no plans to retire from the theater. "The one thing I can't live without is the theatre," he told Billington. During his tenure as the artistic director of the Royal Court Theatre in London, Daldry directed many productions, including Caryl Churchill's Far Away, which he later staged in New York. Reviewing Far Away in the Hollywood Reporter, Frank Scheck commented that it was "beautifully staged by Stephen Daldry to give the evening the feel of a barely remembered nightmare." Writing in the London Observer, Kate Kellaway noted that Daldry "is at once a meticulous and playful director. He works behaviourally, tries to find actions that will ‘release the emotion’ of a scene." For his achievements in theater, Daldry was named a Commander of the British Empire in 2002.
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Lesser, Wendy, A Director Calls: Stephen Daldry and the Theatre, Faber & Faber (London, England), 1997.
Advocate, February 4, 2003, Alonso Duralde, review of The Hours, p. 48.
Dance, September, 2005, Margaret Willis, review of Billy Elliot the Musical, p. 78.
Film Journal International, January, 2003, Erica Abeel, review of The Hours, p. 39.
Guardian (London, England), February 12, 2003, Michael Billington, interview with Stephen Daldry.
Hollywood Reporter, November 22, 2002, Frank Scheck, review of Far Away.
Interview, November, 2000, David Furnish, interview with Stephen Daldry, p. 74.
New Leader, June 6, 1994, Stefan Kanfer, review of An Inspector Calls, p. 39.
New Statesman, November 27, 2000, Sean French, review of Billy Elliot, p. 28; May 23, 2005, Michael Portillo, review of Billy Elliot the Musical, p. 45.
Newsweek, December 9, 2002, David Ansen, review of The Hours, p. 79.
New Yorker, July 4, 2005, John Lahr, review of Billy Elliot the Musical, p. 84.
New York Times, October 13, 2000, A.O. Scott, review of Billy Elliot; December 27, 2002, Stephen Holden, review of The Hours.
Observer (London, England), December 8, 2002, Kate Kellaway, "He'll Turn His Hand to Anything," interview with Stephen Daldry.
Time, December 23, 2002, Richard Schickel, review of The Hours, p. 72.
Variety, May 16, 2005, Matt Wolf, review of Billy Elliot the Musical, p. 37.