Nelson, Tim Blake 1964(?)-
NELSON, Tim Blake 1964(?)-
PERSONAL: Born 1964 (one source cites 1965), in Tulsa, OK; married Lisa Banvides; children: one son. Education: Attended Brown University and Juilliard School. Religion: Jewish.
ADDRESSES: Agent—United Talent Agency, 9560 Wilshire Blvd., 5th Floor, Beverly Hills, CA 90212; publicist: I/D PR NY, 9 Desbrosses St., 2nd Floor, New York, NY 10013.
CAREER: Actor, director, producer, and screenwriter. Actor in films, including (as Dennis) This Is My Life, Twentieth Century-Fox, 1992; (as young detective) Amateur, Sony Pictures Classics, 1994; (as Camp Hope salesman) Heavyweights, Buena Vista, 1995; (as cockroach) Joe's Apartment, Warner Bros., 1996; (as FBI technician) Donnie Brasco, Sony Pictures Entertainment, 1997; (as Private Tills) The Thin Red Line, Twentieth Century-Fox, 1998; (as flight captain) Hamlet, Miramax, 2000; (as Delmar O'Donnell) O Brother, Where Art Thou?, Buena Vista, 2000; (as himself) Down from the Mountain, Cowboy Booking International, 2000; (as Bubba) The Good Girl, Fox Searchlight Pictures, 2002; (as Deputy Bill Daly) Cherish, Fine Line, 2002; (as Gideon) Minority Report, Twentieth Century-Fox, 2002; (as Jake) A Foreign Affair, 2002; (as Dr. Pendanski) Holes, Walt Disney, 2003; (as Marshal Paris) The Last Shot, 2004; (as Jacobo) Scooby-Doo 2: Monsters Unleashed, Warner Bros., 2004; (as Officer LeFlore) Meet the Fockers, 2004; (as Barney) The Moguls, 2005; (as Doctor, Chief Nakahoma/Minister/Roger Bob) Max and Grace, 2005; and (as Gary) The Big White, 2005. Appeared in television series, including The Unnnaturals, HA! and Canadian Television (CTV), 1990-1992; and House of Buggin', Fox, 1995; in television movies, including (as Vietnam surgeon) Stranger on My Land, American Broadcasting Companies (ABC), 1988; in television miniseries, including (as Johnny Carthage) Dead Man's Walk (also known as Larry McMurtry's Dead Man's Walk), ABC, 1996; and in television specials, including Hardcore, Home Box Office (HBO), 1993; and (as himself) Inside Look: Down from the Mountain, 2000. Comedic consultant on the film This Is My Life, Twentieth Century-Fox, 1992. Director of films, including Eye of God, 1997; Kansas, 1998; O, 2001; and (and producer and editor) The Grey Zone, Martien Holdings, 2001. Executive producer of the film A Foreign Affair, 2002. Director and producer of the television movie Love in Vain, 2004. Directed episodes of The Unnnaturals, HA! and CTV. Actor in stage productions, including (as Tommy/Mr. Clancy/Mr. Cooper/Evan/Teller/Stephen) Innocent's Crusade, Manhattan Theatre Club Stage II, New York, 1992; (as Gabriel/boy) Mad Forest, Manhattan Theatre Club Stage I, New York, NY, 1992; (as Igor Fuchs) An Imaginary Life, Playwrights Horizons, New York, NY, 1993; (as Theristes) Troilus and Cressida, Delacorte Theatre, New York, NY,1995; also appeared in Oedipus; Les bourgeois avant-garde; Dracula; The Amazon's Voice; The Baltimore Waltz; Richard III; and Twelfth Night. Recorded the audiobook At the Altar of Speed: The Fast Life and Tragic Death of Dale Earnhardt, Sr., by Leigh Montville, Simon & Schuster Audio, 2001.
AWARDS, HONORS: Five Off-Broadway awards, Village Voice, for The Grey Zone (play); American Independent Award, Seattle International Film Festival, 1997, for Eye of God (film); best director award, Seattle International Film Festival, 2001, for O.
The Grey Zone, produced at MCC Theatre, New York, 1996.
Eye of God, Dramatists Play Service (New York, NY), 1997.
Anadarko, produced at MCC Theatre, New York, 1998.
Eye of God (adapted from Nelson's play of the same title), 1997.
The Grey Zone (adapted from Nelson's play of the same title), Martien Holdings, 2001.
Wrote episodes of The Unnnaturals, HA! and CTV.
SIDELIGHTS: Tim Blake Nelson is an accomplished character actor who is perhaps best known for his role as the naive escaped convict Delmar in the Ethan and Joel Coen's film O Brother, Where Art Thou? But Nelson, who majored in classics at Brown University and later studied acting at Juilliard, is also a playwright and screenwriter. His two most notable works, Eye of God and The Grey Zone, both tackle tough questions about the existence of evil and the meaning of faith. As Stephen Saito wrote for America's Intelligence Wire, Nelson makes "films where the praise received should be as heavy as the subject matter he tackles."
Nelson's first screenwriting effort, Eye of God, is "maybe the best film no one saw" in 1997, according to Michael Sauter in Entertainment Weekly. Set in a small town in Nelson's native Oklahoma, Eye of God tells the interlocking stories of three people: a recently released ex-convict, the lonely young waitress who marries him, and a teenage boy found wandering in the woods, covered in blood. As the police interrogate the teen, flashbacks slowly reveal the story to the audience. The final result is "an original and gripping achievement" with "disturbing power," said Entertainment Weekly reviewer Owen Gleiberman.
The Grey Zone is an even more disturbing film. Based on the memoirs of Holocaust survivors Primo Levi and Miklos Nyiszli, The Grey Zone is about the Sonderkommandos, Jewish prisoners in the Nazi concentration camps who collaborated with the Germans in order to gain extra privileges for themselves. In the fall of 1944, Hungarian Sonderkommandos in Auschwitz-Birkenau plot to blow up as many of the crematoria as they can, hopefully slowing down the Nazis' work and allowing more Jews to survive until liberation comes. The plot of the film is based on an actual rebellion, which occurred on October 7, 1944, and caused half of the camp's ovens to be disabled for the remainder of the war.
The Grey Zone "may, in fact, be the most unrelenting and brutal, but honest, Holocaust film yet made," a reviewer wrote in Asia Africa Intelligence Wire. This opinion was widely shared by other critics, including Rocky Mountain News critic Robert Denerstein. Denerstein noted that Nelson's tone is "so somber and unsentimental that no one can accuse of him of inadvertent distortion," but continued, "that approach also means that many will find Nelson's gripping drama impossible to watch." "I'm not trying to make a film that is too much for people to take, although I know that's what some people are writing," Nelson told Chris Hewitt of Knight Ridder/Tribune News Service. "For my taste, it's just short of too much, which is exactly where it should be. You cannot have people walk out of the theater [during the movie], but if this film, given its subject, is not pretty close to as visceral an experience an audience member has ever had, then I haven't done my job."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
American Historical Review, June, 2003, Stanislao G. Pugliese, review of The Grey Zone (film), pp. 958-959.
America's Intelligence Wire, November 14, 2002, Stephen Saito, review of The Grey Zone (film); January 23, 2003, Anderson Cooper, interview with Nelson and David Arquette.
Arizona Republic, October 25, 2002, Bill Muller, interview with Nelson, p. P1, review of The Grey Zone (film), p. P5.
Asia Africa Intelligence Wire, October 21, 2002, review of The Grey Zone (film).
Back Stage, January 19, 1996, Jerry Tallmer, "Tim Blake Nelson: Writing in 'The Grey Zone,'" pp. 5-6; January 26, 1996, David Sheward, review of The Grey Zone (play), p. 56.
Back Stage West, November 6, 1997, Jamie Painter, review of Eye of God (film and play), p. 7; August 30, 2001, Jamie Painter Young, interview with Nelson, p. 6.
Book, July, 2001, interview with Nelson, p. 10.
Boston Herald, October 31, 1997, Paul Sherman, review of Eye of God (film), p. 7; October 25, 2002, James Verniere, review of The Grey Zone (film), p. 6.
Daily News (Los Angeles, CA), October 31, 1997, Stephen Holden, review of Eye of God (film), p. L10; October 18, 2002, Glenn Whipp, review of The Grey Zone (film), p. U12.
Daily Variety, April 18, 2002, Jill Feiwell, "Tim Blake Nelson," p. 4.
Entertainment Weekly, October 31, 1997, Owen Gleiberman, review of Eye of God (film), p. 80; March 20, 1998, Michael Sauter, review of Eye of God (film), p. 99; November 1, 2002, Owen Gleiberman, review of The Grey Zone (film), p. 48.
Esquire, September, 2001, Mark Warren, profile of Nelson, p. 56.
Guardian (London, England), August 30, 2002, Tim Blake Nelson, "Chronicle of Deaths Foretold," p. 10.
Herald Sun (Melbourne, Victoria, Australia), January 15, 2001, interview with Nelson, p. 136.
Hollywood Reporter, August 23, 2001, Zorianna Kit, review of The Grey Zone (film), p. 3; September 13, 2001, Kirk Honeycutt, review of The Grey Zone (film), p. 9.
Knight Ridder/Tribune News Service, October 31, 2002, Chris Hewitt, interview with Nelson,
New Republic, October 28, 2002, Stanley Kauffmann, review of The Grey Zone (film), p. 24.
New York, February 19, 1996, John Simon, review of The Grey Zone (play), 1996.
New York Post, October 18, 2002, review of The GreyZone (film), p. 47.
New York Times, October 17, 1997, Stephen Holden, review of Eye of God (film), p. B10, E12; January 7, 2001, Kristin Hohenadel, "A Holocaust Horror Story without a Schindler," p. AR13; October 18, 2002, Stephen Holden, review of The Grey Zone (film), pp. B8, E8; October 20, 2002, Daniel Menaker, interview with Nelson, p. AR13.
People, October 27, 1997, Leah Rozen, review of Eye of God (film), 20.
Rocky Mountain News (Denver, CO), December 12, 1997, Robert Denerstein, review of Eye of God (film), p. 7D; August 15, 2002, Robert Denerstein, interview with Nelson, p. 9D; November 8, 2002, Robert Denerstein, review of The Grey Zone (film), p. 5D.
San Francisco Chronicle, December 19, 1997, Edward Guthmann, review of Eye of God (film), p. C3.
Scotsman (Edinburgh, Scotland), January 7, 2003, Stephen Applebaum, interview with Nelson, p. 10.
Seattle Post-Intelligencer, September 1, 2001, Sean Axmaker, interview with Nelson, p. E1; November 2, 2002, interview with Nelson, p. E1.
Star Tribune (Minneapolis, MN), November 1, 2002, Jeff Strickler, interview with Nelson, p. 10E.
Time, January 15, 2001, Richard Schickel, review of O Brother, Where Art Thou?, p. 122.
Variety, January 15, 1996, Jeremy Gerard, review of The Grey Zone (play), pp. 134-135; October 1, 2001, Todd McCarthy, review of The Grey Zone (film), p. 38.
Wall Street Journal, October 18, 2002, Joe Morgenstern, review of The Grey Zone (film), p. W6. Washington Times, October 25, 2002, Gary Arnold, review of The Grey Zone (film), p. B07; October 26, 2002, Gary Arnold, review of The Grey Zone (film), p. D02.
Brown Alumni Online,http://www.brownalumnimagazine.com/ (November 25, 2003), Kari Molvar, interview with Nelson.
Internet Movie Database,http://www.imdb.com/ (May 24, 2004), "Tim Blake Nelson."*