Cary Fukanaga: 5 Fast Facts You Need to Know

Director of latest James Bond Movie, Cary Fukanaga,


For months now, rumors about who will direct the newest James Bond movie have left fans curious who will really help the lofty project. The wait is over, as the identity of that person has been released.

Cary Fukunaga, the 41-year-old director known for Beasts of No Nation and Jane Eyre is the pick.

What should you know about Fukunaga? Read on.

1. He Directed and Executive Produced the First Season of HBO’s ‘True Detective’

Fukunaga directed dight episodes of True Detective in 2014. The show was nominated for five Primetime Emmy Awards, including Outstanding Drama Series and Outstanding Directing for Fukunaga, who walked away with the win.

He is the founder of the production company Parliament of Owls, which has been responsible for most of the projects he has directed.

Asked how True Detective came across his desk in the first place, Fukunaga explains, “[Creator] Nic Pizzolatto and I are at the same management company, Anonymous Content, so my manager sent me the project and said it was timely, and me and Nic met and talked about the movies we liked and things we have in common. It happened very quickly. I had gotten it, and then Alejandro González Iñárritu was on it for a very short time, and then he slipped out and it came right back to me.”

He explains that the scripts he read created an image in his head that “compelled” him, and he was also very intrigued by the entire concept. “There are so many scripts that you read and you know exactly what’s going to happen, and there aren’t too many where you can’t tell within the first 20 pages where it’s going,” he tells The Daily Beast.

2. He Wrote, Directed, Produced and Shot ‘Beasts of No Nation’

Director of latest James Bond Movie, Cary Fukanaga,

Cary Fukunaga attends the World premiere of the new Netflix series “Maniac” at Southbank Centre on September 13, 2018 in London, England.

The filmmaker rose to fame after releasing his feature debut film Sin Nombre, about immigration and Mexican gangland. The movie received rave reviews and a number of awards, including the Directing award at the 2009 Sundance Film Festival, and a “New Director’s Award” at the 2009 Edinburgh International Film Festival.

In 2009, the movie won the “Best Foreign Language Film” award from the Austin Film Critics Association. The cinematographer on the film, Adriano Goldman, took home the Cinematography Award at Sundance. At the Independent Spirit Awards, the movie was nominated for Best Foreign Film.

In 2014, Fukunaga directed, wrote and filmed Beasts of No Nation, which was picked up by Netflix. It was nominated for an Independent Spirit Award for Best Director and received a nomination for Best Feature. The movie was made on a budget of $6 million.

3. He Originally Wanted to Be a Pro Snowboarder

NEW YORK, NY – FEBRUARY 23: Director Cary Joji Fukunaga attends ‘Sunday In The Park With George’ Broadway opening night at The Hudson Theatre on February 23, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by Michael Loccisano/Getty Images)

Interestingly enough, the accomplished director wanted to be a snowboarder at first.

He tells the Daily Beast, “No, I wanted to be a pro snowboarder. Every season, I’d go for the winter to train and compete. At 22, I had a good year and went to live in Japan, had a couple of magazine articles and stuff.”

He continues, “But by the time I turned 23, I came back and looked at my friends who were 26, 27, and working as lift operators, and realized I didn’t want to be that. I’d always been interested in filmmaking so figured I’d try it out. But snowboarding taught me a lot about discipline and pushing my limits.”

4. He Attended NYU Tisch’s Graduate Film Program

Fukunaga was born in California. His father was a third-generation Japanese-American and was born in a Japanese internment camp. His mother, Gretchen May, is Swedish-American.

Fukunaga started as a camera intern before applying to film school. He graduated from the University of California, Santa Cruz, with a BA in history in 1999. He then went on to enroll in New York University Tisch School of the Arts Graduate Film Program.

Asked by The Daily Beast if any of his NYU classmates are thriving in the film world, he responded, “There were about 35 students when we started out and six dropped out. I’d say every one of them is working except a couple, and 15 of them out of 35 have made features, which isn’t bad. Craig Johnson just had Skeleton Twins come out and Mark Heyman wrote Black Swan. Rob Meyer has a film coming out soon, A Birder’s Guide to Everything. Pretty good class.”

5. His NYU Short Film Screened at the Sundance Film Festival

While at NYU, Fukunaga wrote and directed the short film Victoria para Chino. The movie screened at the Sundance Film Festival. It went on to win the Audience Award for Best Narrative Student Short at the 2004 Austin Film Festival, a “Best Student Film” award at the 2006 Ashland Independent Film Festival, and a BAFTA/LA Award for Excellence – Honorable Mention at the 2005 Aspen Shortsfest.

Fukunaga says he did not expect the movie to do so well. “It wasn’t my thesis film or a film that was supposed to jumpstart my career, but it ended up that way.”

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