George, Terry 1949-
GEORGE, Terry 1949-
PERSONAL: Born February 6, 1949, in Dublin, Ireland; married Margaret Higgins (writer); children: Oorlagh, Seamus.
ADDRESSES: Agent—c/o Author Mail, MetroGoldwyn-Mayer, 10250 Constellation Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90067-6421.
CAREER: Writer, director, and producer.
AWARDS, HONORS: Academy Award nomination for best original screenplay, Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, 1993, for In the Name of the Father, and 2004, for Hotel Rwanda; Toronto International Film Festival Award for best picture, 2004, for Hotel Rwanda.
(With Jim Sheridan; and co-executive producer) In the Name of the Father, Universal Pictures, 1993.
(With Jim Sheridan) The Boxer, Universal Pictures, 1997.
(And director) A Bright Shining Lie (teleplay; based on book by Neil Sheehan), Home Box Office, 1998.
Hart's War, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, 2002.
(With Keir Pearson; and director and producer) Hotel Rwanda, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, 2004.
(With Keir Pearson; and editor) Hotel Rwanda: Bringing The True Story of an African Hero to Film (nonfiction), Newmarket Press (New York, NY), 2005.
Also creator, producer, and author of numerous episodes of the television series The District, Columbia Broadcasting System.
WORK IN PROGRESS: The films Get Rich or Die Tryin' and Da Vinci's Mother.
SIDELIGHTS: Terry George is the author of several screenplays, including the 1993 film In the Name of the Father, written with Jim Sheridan. The story tells of Garry Conlon and three others, who were imprisoned for allegedly participating in an Irish Republican Army (IRA) bombing of a pub in Northern Ireland. Ironically, George himself was once imprisoned in the early 1970s as a suspected IRA member. The film focuses on Conlon and what appears to be his inevitable destiny to run afoul of the authorities. However, after fifteen years of imprisonment, Conlon and his three cohorts are proved innocent and released based on evidence that had earlier been suppressed by the government. Writing in the New Republic, Stanley Kaufmann noted that the screenplay authors "concentrated on character and on acid irony," since the story was well known and dated.
George collaborated with Sheridan again to write the screenplay for Some Mother's Son, another IRA-based tale, which George also directed. This time the story focuses on a mother and her son, who is imprisoned as an IRA terrorist and protests by going on a hunger strike. The primary focus of the film is on the mother's decision whether to let her son ultimately die for his beliefs or to interfere and stop his hunger strike. In an interview on Salon.com, George explained the dilemma this way: "It would seem a foregone conclusion on first reading that of course a mother would save her son. But when your son is Gerry Adams or Bobby Sands or Che Guevara, then it becomes a real dilemma as to whether the mother should intervene at some point to save her son's life." In a review of the film's video release in Entertainment Weekly, Michael Sauter noted that "on tape its human-scale drama loses none of its power to move us."
In The Boxer, George and Sheridan continue to explore the "Irish Troubles" with a story of Danny, a former boxer and IRA member who spends fourteen years in prison. Once free, he wants to leave his past behind. His lover is married to a political prisoner and her father is a more sensible IRA member trying to bring about peace. Danny starts a boxing gym open to both Catholic and Protestant youths, hoping to bring the two sides together by focusing on the children. David Ansen, writing in Newsweek, noted that the screenplay presents three stories in one: a love story, a boxing tale, and a look at the political intrigues of Ireland. Ansen wrote that "the fusion of these three formulas results in some explosive drama."
For his 2004 film Hotel Rwanda, George served as director and co-wrote the screenplay with Keir Pearson. Based on the true story of genocide of the Tutsis by Rwandan Hutus in 1994, the screenplay and film focuses on the heroic efforts of real-life hotel manager Paul Rusesabagina to save as many lives as he could. Using bribes, forged documents, and any other method at his disposal, Rusesabagina shelters more than 1,200 people at his upscale hotel, trying to protect them from the Hutus, who are seeking revenge for past wrongs at the hands of the Tutsis. "It's the personal stories that allow you to talk about the political situation through film," George was quoted as saying in the Hollywood Reporter. In a review for Daily Variety, Scott Foundas commented that the film is "a gut-wrenching tale." Mark Steyn, writing in the Spectator, felt that the screenwriters are successful in depicting a story that had largely been ignored by the press and governments around the world. Steyn noted: "When I first heard about Hotel Rwanda, I didn't think you could pull off a movie 'about' this subject. It's really an anti-story—it's about the cavalry not showing up. And how do you find any human interest in it?" Steyn went on to write, "But, remarkably, the director Terry George and his co-writer Keir Pearson have pulled it off."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Bookwatch, April, 2005, review of Hotel Rwanda: Bringing The True Story of an African Hero to Film.
Daily Variety, September 20, 2004, Tamsen Tillson, "'Hotel' Is Toast of Toronto," p. 5; September 24, 2004, Scott Foundas, review of Hotel Rwanda, p. 11.
Entertainment Weekly, September 26, 1997, Michael Sauter, review of Some Mother's Son, p. 82.
Hollywood Reporter, December 7, 2004, Sarah Bakhsian, "Real 'Rwanda,'" p. 16; December 14, 2004, p. 75; February 6, 2005, "Best Original Screenplay: These Writers Created the Stories and Dialogue That Have Had People Talking for Months," p. 42.
Los Angeles Times, January 10, 2004, Robyn Dixon, review of Hotel Rwanda.
New Republic, January 3, 1994, Stanley Kauffmann, review of In the Name of the Father, p. 28.
Newsweek, January 12, 1988, David Ansen, review of The Boxer, p. 61.
Spectator, February 26, 2005, Mark Steyn, review of Hotel Rwanda, p. 46.
Variety, January 3, 2005, Justin Chang, "Pic Puts Human Face on Rwandan Horrors," p. S12.
Internet Movie Database, http://www.imdb.com/ (May 2, 2005).