Field at the Deauville American Film Festival press conference on September 5, 2006.
William Todd Field
February 24, 1964
Pomona, California, U.S.
|Alma mater||Mount Hood Community College|
Southern Oregon University
(m. after 1986)
|Awards||Best Director & Screenplay|
National Board of Review
William Todd Field (born February 24, 1964) is an American actor and three-time Academy Award-nominated filmmaker. He directed In the Bedroom and Little Children, which received a combined eight Academy Award nominations.
Field was born in Pomona, California, where his family ran a poultry farm. When Field turned two, his family moved to Portland, Oregon, where his father went to work as a salesman, and his mother became a school librarian. At an early age, he became interested in performing sleight-of-hand and later music.
As a child in Portland, Field was a batboy for the Portland Mavericks, a single A independent minor league baseball team owned by Hollywood actor Bing Russell. Kurt Russell, Bing's son and later an acclaimed Hollywood actor in his own right, also played for the Portland Mavericks during this time. Field and Maverick Pitching Coach Rob Nelson created the first batch of Big League Chew in the Field family kitchen. In 1980 Nelson and former New York Yankees all-star Jim Bouton sold the idea to the Wrigley Company. Since that time over 800 million pouches have been sold worldwide.
A budding jazz musician, at the age of sixteen Field became a member of the Big Band at Mount Hood Community College in Gresham, Oregon. Headed by Larry McVey, the band had become a proving-ground and regular stop for Stan Kenton and Mel Tormé when they were looking for new players. It was here Field played trombone along with his friend, trumpeter and future Grammy Award Winner Chris Botti. During this same time he also worked as a non-union projectionist at a second-run movie theater. Field graduated with his class from Centennial High School on Portland's east side and briefly attended Southern Oregon State College (now Southern Oregon University) in Ashland on a music scholarship, but left after his freshman year favoring a move to New York to study acting with Robert X. Modica at his renowned Carnegie Hall Studio. Soon after, Field began performing with the Ark Theatre Company as both an actor and musician. He received his Master of Fine Arts from the AFI Conservatory.
One of the film industry's more multifaceted members, having worked in varying capacities as an actor, director, producer, composer, and screenwriter, Field began making motion pictures after he was cast by Woody Allen in Radio Days (1987). He went on to work with some of America's greatest film makers including Stanley Kubrick, Victor Nuñez, and Carl Franklin. It was Franklin and Nunez (both AFI alumni) who encouraged Field to enroll as a Directing Fellow at the AFI, which he did in the fall of 1992. Since that time he has received the Franklin J. Schaffner Fellow Award from the AFI, the Satyajit Ray Award from the British Film Institute, a Jury Prize from the Sundance Film Festival, and his short films have been exhibited at various venues overseas and domestically at the Museum of Modern Art. To date, unadjusted box office receipts for the films in which Field has participated exceed a billion dollars worldwide.
In the Bedroom
Field became one of Hollywood's hottest new writer/directors with the release of In the Bedroom, a film based on the short story “Killings” by author Andre Dubus. (Kubrick and Dubus were among Field's mentors; both died right before the production of In the Bedroom.) In the Bedroom was nominated for five Academy Awards including Best Picture, Best Actor (Tom Wilkinson, his first nomination), Best Actress (Sissy Spacek, her sixth nomination), Supporting Actress (Marisa Tomei, her second nomination), and Best Adapted Screenplay. The film was shot in Rockland, Maine, a New England town in which Field resides—the house where he, his wife (Serena Rathbun), and their four children live was even used as the setting for one sequence. Rathbun and Sissy Spacek did a portion of the set designing and Field handled the camera himself on many of the shots. The result, critics said, was stunning: David Ansen of Newsweek wrote,
"Todd Field exhibits a mastery of his craft many filmmakers never acquire in a lifetime. With one film he’s guaranteed his future as a director. He has the magnificent obsession of the natural-born filmmaker.."
Anthony Quinn of The Independent also praised the director:
"Field has pulled off something here I thought no American filmmaker would ever manage again: he makes violence feel genuinely shocking."
For his work on In the Bedroom, Field was named Director of the Year by the National Board of Review, and his script was awarded Best Original Screenplay. The film went on to win Best Picture of the Year by the Los Angeles Film Critics Association, and the New York Film Critics Circle awarded Best First Film to Field. In the Bedroom received six American Film Institute Awards including Best Picture, Director, and Screenplay, three Golden Globe nominations, and five Academy Award nominations including Best Picture, Actor, Actress, Supporting Actress, and two individually for Field both as Screenwriter and Producer. The American Film Institute honored Field with the Franklin Schaffner Alumni Medal. With the exception of the AFI Life Achievement Award, the Schaffner Award is the highest honor an individual can achieve.
The February 2020 issue of New York Magazine lists In the Bedroom alongside Citizen Kane, Sunset Boulevard, Dr. Strangelove, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, The Conversation, Nashville, Taxi Driver, The Elephant Man, Pulp Fiction, There Will Be Blood, and Roma as "The Best Movies That Lost Best Picture at the Oscars."
Field followed In the Bedroom with Little Children, which was nominated for three Academy Awards including two for his actors: Kate Winslet (her fifth nomination, and with it a record for the youngest actor to be nominated for five Academy Awards) and Jackie Earle Haley (his first nomination, and first leading role in over fifteen years). After having written, directed and produced just two feature films, Field had garnered five Academy Award nominations for his actors, and three for himself, personally. The film, based on the novel of the same name by Tom Perrotta, premiered at the 2006 New York Film Festival. In his end-of-year roundup "Best of 2006", A.O. Scott of The New York Times wrote:
“The first time you see Todd Field's adaptation of Tom Perrotta's novel, you may remark on the director's impressive control over the unruly source material and the emotional agility of the cast. Kate Winslet in particular. The second time, the film's lurid, crazy side is more apparent, and the intensity of the supporting performances — Noah Emmerich, Jackie Earle Haley, Phyllis Somerville — creep into the foreground. This movie, Mr. Field's second feature... is a complicated blend of gothic, melodrama and sexual comedy, unerringly attuned to the varieties of human failure”
International Cinephile Society's Matt Mazur described the film as "subversive" and designed to intentionally disorient the viewer using "seemingly non-connected imagery to suggest a tone and a mood of disquiet." Mazur goes on to compare Field's technique with that of Sergei Eisenstein, D.W. Griffith, Georges Melies, and Edwin S. Porter.
Many members of Field's creative team on In the Bedroom returned to work with him on the film, including Serena Rathbun. In a 2006 interview with The Hollywood Reporter's Anne Thompson, Field said Rathbun was the reason he quit acting and began making his own films after she told him to "Do what you want to do. Don't get distracted." Later that year on the Charlie Rose show, Field spoke extensively about the importance of Rathbun as his creative partner, describing a conversation he had with her where she gave him the most pivotal scene, “for me, the film is unthinkable without it.”
From 2008 to 2016 it was purported that Field was involved with a film set in the Mexican Revolution starring Leonardo DiCaprio, a coming of age minor league baseball story set in the 1970s Northwest, and novel adaptations with Field co-writing alongside such literary luminaries as Cormac McCarthy, Joan Didion, and Jonathan Franzen who in 2016 stated on the Diane Rehm show that he was "learning" about the art of adaptation from Field who he considered to be a "master" of the form.
In 2016, Daily Variety reported that Franzen's novel Purity was in the process of being adapted into a 20-hour limited series for Showtime by Field who would share writing duties with Franzen and the playwright Sir David Hare. It would star Daniel Craig as Andreas Wolf and be executive produced by Field, Franzen, Craig, Hare & Scott Rudin.
However, in a February 2018 interview with The Times London, Hare said that, given the budget for Field's adaptation (170 million), he doubted it would ever be made, but added “It was one of the richest and most interesting six weeks of my life, sitting in a room with Todd Field, Jonathan Franzen and Daniel Craig bashing out the story. They’re extremely interesting people.”
To date, no further information has come to light regarding any of the above projects, prompting speculation as far back as 2010 that the filmmaker had become somewhat of a recluse. That year the Playlist's Kevin Jagernauth wrote, "It’s four long years since Todd Field’s extraordinary and excellent Little Children, and we’ve heard very little from the director since." And Nicholas Bell in his 2015 Ioncinema piece, "Top 10 American Indie Filmmakers Missing in Action," states "It is definitely time for Field to throw one down the middle. In the meantime, we’ll just have to watch In the Bedroom for the umpteenth time."
|Year||Film||Oscars||BAFTA||Golden Globe||New York Film Critics Circle Awards||Los Angeles Film Critics Association|
|2001||In the Bedroom|
|Year||Film||Duties||Notes and Awards|
|1992||The Dog||Co-Director with Alex Vlacos||Short experimental film|
|Too Romantic||Writer/Director||AFI First Year Cycle Project|
|1993||When I Was a Boy||Co-Director with Alex Vlacos & Matthew Modine||Premiered at Sundance Film Festival in front of Victor Nuñez's Grand Jury Prize winning Ruby in Paradise in which Field also starred. Exhibited at MoMA as part of the New Directors/New Films Festival|
|The Tree||Writer/Director||AFI First Year Cycle Project|
|Delivering||Writer/Director||AFI First Year Cycle Project|
|1995||Nonnie & Alex||Director||AFI Second Year Thesis Project
Winner Sundance Film Festival Special Jury Award, Winner College Emmy Best Film Award, Winner Aspen Short Fest Grand Prize
- National Board of Review Award for Best Director, National Board of Review Award for Best Adapted Screenplay
- "Todd Field Biography -Movies@Piczo".
- "Todd Field Biography – Yahoo! Movies".
- ""The Battered Bastards of Baseball" impresses Sundance". Retrieved July 14, 2014.
- "Big League Chew: An Oral History".
- "Sundance 2014: Todd Field looks back on the 'Battered Bastards of Baseball'".
- "The Birth Of A Bubblegum Empire: Big League Chew's Unlikely Portland Origin".
- Levy, Shawn. You couldn't write a better script. The Oregonian, March twenty-third, 2002.
- "Todd Field Biography". The New York Times. December 3, 2009.
- "Todd Field Worldwide Box Office Totals: In the Bedroom, Little Children, Twister, Radio Days, The Haunting, Gross Anatomy, Eyes Wide Shut, Walking & Talking, Ruby in Paradise, Sleep with Me, The Allnighter, Fat Man & Little Boy, Queens Logic, Frank & Jesse, Stranger than Fiction. Box Office Mojo". March 6, 2009.
- Gale, Thomas (December 16, 2007). "Todd Field Biography". Contemporary Authors.
- Ansen, David (December 3, 2001). "Their House Torn Asunder". Newsweek.
- Ansen, David. (January 21, 2002). "Break On Through To The Oscar Side". Newsweek.
- Quinn, Anthony (January 25, 2002). "The Big Picture: In the Bedroom". The Independent.
- "The Best Movies That Lost Best Picture at the Oscars". New York Magazine. Retrieved February 24, 2020.
- Scott, A.O. (December 24, 2006). "Best of 2006: Here's to the Ambitious and the Altmans". The New York Times.
- Mazur, Matt (June 10, 2010). "Todd Field's Little Children in Relation to the History of Cinema". International Cinephile Society. Retrieved July 1, 2010.
- Thompson, Anne (September 15, 2006). "Field a father figure to his 'Little Children'". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved September 15, 2006.
- "Charlie Rose – John Burns & Hilary Swank / Todd Field". YouTube. Retrieved January 3, 2007.
- Steven, Zeitchik (July 29, 2011). "A Western With Leonardo DiCaprio?". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved August 5, 2011.
- Jeff, Labrecque (January 22, 2014). "Sundance 2014: Todd Field looks back on the 'Battered Bastards of Baseball'". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved March 14, 2014.
- Tatiana, Siegel * Borys, Kit (January 29, 2014). "Sundance Deal Wrap". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved March 14, 2014.CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
- Medina, Jeremy (August 28, 2008). "Cormac McCarthy's Blood Meridian film changes directors". Los Angeles Times.
- "Todd Field still working hard on Blood Meridian". January 14, 2010. Retrieved April 3, 2010.
- Sarah Bennett (August 11, 2012). "Joan Didion and Todd Field Are Co-writing a Screenplay". New York Magazine. Archived from the original on December 22, 2016. Retrieved December 16, 2016.
- Hillary Busis (June 1, 2016). "Showtime Bets Big on Daniel Craig-Starring Jonathan Franzen Adaptation Purity". Vanity Fair. Retrieved June 1, 2016.
- Diane Rehm (August 2, 2016). "A Conversation With Author Jonathan Franzen". The Diane Rehm Show. Retrieved August 2, 2016.
- Wagmeister, Elizabeth (2016). "Showtime Lands Daniel Craig, Scott Rudin Limited Series 'Purity'". Daily Variety.
- Maxwell, Dominic (2018). "David Hare: 'I am sick to death of hearing about the need for strong women as protagonists'". The Times.
- "Todd Field to direct Hubris next". March 19, 2010. Retrieved March 19, 2010.
- "Top 10 American Indie Filmmakers Missing in Action". October 26, 2015. Retrieved October 25, 2015.
- Independent Spirit Award for Best Supporting Male
- Thomas, Kevin (July 30, 1999). "Movie Review: Broken Vessels". Los Angeles Times.
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|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Todd Field.|
- Delicately Dissecting the Quiet Life – November 18, 2001, The New York Times
- Why My Half-Brother Tried to Kill Me – January 12, 2002, The Guardian
- 'In the Bedroom' Without Frills – August 9, 2002, The New York Times
- The Best DVD's of 2002 – January 3, 2003, The New York Times
- Acting all grown up in a land of `Children’ – January 21, 2007, Los Angeles Times
- Field on Bergman – August 1, 2007, Los Angeles Times
- Academic Papers
- International Psychoanalysis, I Know Not Seems by Harvey Roy Greenberg April 2009
- International Cinephile Society, Todd Field’s Little Children in Relation to the History of Cinema by Matt Mazur June 30, 2010
- Chicago Public Radio's Film Spotting Interview (mp3) 28 October 2006
- Elvis Mitchell's The Treatment KCRW 11 October 2006
- Renee Montagne NPR Morning Edition – DVD Commentaries, 26 February 2003
- Scott Horsley NPR Morning Edition – DVD Sales Challenge Video-Rental Business, 25 February 2003
- Warren Olney Interview KCRW 15 March 2002