Paul Verhoeven
Film director
Paul Verhoeven
Paul Verhoeven is a Dutch film director, screenwriter, and producer who has made movies in both the Netherlands and the United States. Explicitly violent and/or sexual content and social satire are trademarks of both his drama and science fiction films. He is best known for directing the American feature films RoboCop (1987), Total Recall (1990), Basic Instinct (1992), Starship Troopers (1997), and Hollow Man (2000).
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Meryl Streep Cautions at the Golden Globes: Disrespect Incites Disrespect
Huffington Post - about 1 month
This is a sign of things to come in the next four years: Meryl Streep outspoken about the performance of the year, the one that stunned her, and it wasn't even in a fiction film. It was a real life public figure--unnamed--who mocked a disabled reporter. "Disrespect incites disrespect." We need the press to hold power to account and out every outrage. I am paraphrasing from Streep's powerful message from the podium of the Golden Globes, as she received the Cecil B. DeMille Award for lifetime achievement . Streep singled out only one outrage among so many she could have chosen from this public figure, the one who will now become the leader of the free world. Feel The Big Chill. This was one of the most memorable moments at the Golden Globes. The winning movies may reverberate for the Academy Awards as voters' nomination ballots are due at the end of the week. The Globes opened replicating Damien Chazelle's La La production number, with some of our favorites--Nicole Kidman, Amy Adams-- ...
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Huffington Post article
"Elle": Heroine
Huffington Post - about 2 months
Can there be a stronger, smarter, more entertaining feminist movie than Isabelle Huppert's thriller cum Black Comedy social statement "Elle?" Michele LeBlanc (Huppert) is brutally raped in the movie's first scene. As soon as the rapist departs, LeBlanc tends to her cat, cleans up the apartment and goes to work. Report to the police? No. Seek immediate assistance or even sympathy from neighbors or friends? No. Her calm, self contained manner in going about her ordinary business is as jarring in juxtaposition as the rape itself. Huppert ("Amour", "The Piano Teacher", "I Heart the Huckabees") seems one of the few actresses who could carry off such a transition with such plausible equanimity. In a minor acknowledgement of what has happened to her and the possibility of future danger, she does buy some pepper spray and a nasty looking hatchet. Then it's back to the video game company which she runs sternly over her unruly millennial gamers. She eventually tells her friends, Ann ...
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Huffington Post article
Director Verhoeven to head Berlin Film Festival jury - 2 months
BERLIN (Reuters) - Dutch director Paul Verhoeven, best known for films such as "Basic Instinct" and "RoboCop", will head the jury of the Berlin International Film Festival in February.
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Paul Verhoeven and Isabelle Huppert lean into the incendiary revenge of 'Elle'
LATimes - 3 months
They are two names who conjure strong images for serious movie fans and a pairing that implies a fearsome, ferocious collaboration: Actress Isabelle Huppert, with a screen persona equal parts sensual and imperious, coupled with director Paul Verhoeven, the madman provocateur behind such films as...
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LATimes article
In Two Challenging 'Postfeminist' Movies, Isabelle Huppert's Long Career Comes Full-Circle
Huffington Post - 3 months
In France, according to Isabelle Huppert, actresses’ currency isn’t bankrupted as they mature. Unlike the cliché surrounding American film careers, their ages are “completely irrelevant.” Which explains why, at 64, Huppert is enjoying a banner year. The Paris native has won raves for two movies opening before 2016’s end: the psychosexual thriller “Elle” and the divorce drama “Things To Come.”  Huppert is the Meryl Streep of France. She has more nominations from the César Awards ― the French equivalent of the Oscars ― than any other actress. But her on-camera persona is far subtler than Streep’s. Already a fixture among stateside cinephiles, Huppert may see her profile rise with moviegoers over the next few months. She is part of the Oscars’ heated Best Actress derby, a European veteran who could slip in the way Charlotte Rampling deservedly did for last year’s “45 Years.” (For what it’s worth, Huppert considers any Rampling comparisons a compliment.) Before awards season become ...
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Huffington Post article
Huffington Post - 3 months
I was going to start my post, "The election of Hillary marks the ascendancy of the Strong Woman." That was before November 8 around 10:30 P.M. Trump may have triumphed, but the figure of the Strong Woman with the steely resolve exemplified by Hillary stands un-vanquished. Cause for celebration. As someone who came of age in the 50s, I had few or no models of strong women. The three badass women rebels of my current novel, "Wild Girls" disdain the roles assigned women in the hidebound 50s, yet in fact, most women were helpmates, subservient, dilletantes. Today, reflecting the new reality, strong, saber-wielding women woman have powered their way into popular culture. "Star Wars" offers the indomitable super-heroines Leia Organa, Padme Amidala, and Hera Syndulla. In "Rogue One" actress Felicity Jones as Jyn Erso embodies the newest female powerhouse. The strong woman also dominates art and crossover films. In the triptych "Certain Women" by Kelly Reichardt, she's be ...
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Huffington Post article
Rotterdam Strives For Competitive, Liveable Low-Carbon Economy
Huffington Post - 4 months
Part 2 of a series on Rotterdam's efforts to become a sustainable and "climate-proof" city. Rotterdam's modern skyline with world famous Erasmus Bridge at left and the massive De Rotterdam building, left of center. −500Watt Rotterdam, the Netherlands--Rotterdam, a Dutch city of about 630,000 in a low-lying delta on the North Sea, has a set of ambitious long-range plans to become sustainable and climate-proof. These broad and consequential plans involve billions of euros in investment and the management of the city's energy, water, land, raw materials, and waste. The plans' implementation will impact the city's air quality, public health, mobility and transport, outdoor public spaces (including parks and gardens). It will also influence the city's biodiversity, building energy use, construction and even demolition. The city's efforts are founded on extensive public outreach to engage all major segments of Rotterdam in ...
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Huffington Post article
Kristen Stewart's Eerie Ghost Story And 3 Other New York Film Festival Movies To Catch
Huffington Post - 5 months
The New York Film Festival tends to pepper its lineup with a few splashy premieres and a slew of holdovers from the year’s other festivals. The Huffington Post has already caught four in the latter camp. They’re a fairly eclectic bunch, starring the likes of Kristen Stewart, Isabelle Huppert and Gael García Bernal. Here are some quick thoughts on each. “Elle” Fire up the think-pieces: “Elle” is a rape comedy. I use “comedy” loosely, but trust that this divisive film does not focus on the grief that sexual assault can prompt. Instead, it’s part revenge thriller, part psychosexual escapade and part social satire. It’s also relentlessly entertaining, with one of the year’s sharpest performances.  Veteran French actress Isabelle Huppert plays Michèle Leblanc, the divorced co-founder of a video-game production company that does not shy away from the medium’s penchant for misogynistic violence. Her younger, mostly male employees mock Michèle, but she is unfazed. Why? Sexism has ...
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Huffington Post article
Paul Verhoeven on Controversy, American Movies and Fascism
Wall Street Journal - 5 months
"Film basically lost a lot to television," says the director of "Elle" and "Robocop."
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Wall Street Journal article
Paul Verhoeven on the scene he cut from the Gamergate-themed 'Elle' and his controversial Cannes comeback
LATimes - 9 months
The movie's opening may as well arrive with an on-screen statement. Loud shrieking lends the impression a couple is having sex, but the first sight is a close-up of a cat. Then the camera cuts to the source of the shrieks, and it turns out what sounded like love is actually an assault. "Paul Verhoeven...
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LATimes article
Paul Verhoeven's "Elle" Wows Cannes: A Comic Thriller Starring Isabelle Huppert
The Huffington Post - 9 months
It is tense, disquieting and hilarious every instant. Paul Verhoeven's film Elle features a video game executive who is menaced by her erstwhile rapist and yet not only refuses to tell the police, but returns nightly to her empty, scary huge apartment, stoically undaunted by the likelihood of a masked intruder crashing through the windows once more. What makes the movie fascinating is that there is something perverse about Michele (the woman played by Isabelle Huppert): her coldness not only towards this menace, but to her eccentric gigolo-porting mother, her disappointment of a son, her lover, her ex, and her psychopathic father who is behind bars, we learn, for a frightening reason. Huppert plays sang-froid with brilliant accuracy. We cannot keep our eyes off her. And we admire her. More...
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The Huffington Post article
Review: ‘Paul Verhoeven’s Tricked,’ a Documentary and a Farce
NYTimes - 12 months
A film about a corporate bigwig whose former mistress shows up with a baby bump at his birthday party is preceded by a documentary about its making.
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NYTimes article
“RoboCop”: An ’80s classic reengineered — but why? - about 3 years
It’s ‘80s weekend in America’s multiplexes, and while I guess that’s always true, people of my approximate generation may well wonder whether they’ve tumbled into the hot-tub time machine. In addition to the confusing, push-me-pull-you spectacle that is the “RoboCop” remake, this week also brings us a new version of “Endless Love” (not technically a remake of the Brooke Shields film) and a new version of “About Last Night,” which is a remake (with an all-black cast) of the 1986 Rob Lowe-Demi Moore movie, itself adapted from David Mamet’s play “Sexual Perversity in Chicago.” Where is Marty McFly in all this? I hear “About Last Night,” which was written by the hilarious Leslye Headland, is pretty good, but that’s just me trying to change the subject. As for “RoboCop,” well, jeez. Let’s put it this way: What did you think would happen when a Hollywood studio decided to remake Paul Verhoeven’s acrid, ultraviolent social satire of the Reagan years, a movie that shaped both an era and a sen ...
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Learn about memorable moments in the evolution of Paul Verhoeven
  • 2011
    Age 72
    In October 2011, Verhoeven confirmed The Last Express as the identity of the game in question, and revealed that he is even considering filming it in 3D. Mechner has gone on record as saying he is a fan of Verhoeven's Jesus of Nazareth (JON).
    More Details Hide Details Verhoeven's interpretation of JON will reportedly include Jesus as an exorcist, and a believer in the Kingdom of God on Earth. Verhoeven has cast several actors more than once. Verhoeven has worked with Basil Poledouris on Flesh & Blood, Robocop, and Starship Troopers. He has also worked with visual effects experts Peter Kuran and Phil Tippett, and writer Edware Neumeier, on Robocop and Starship Troopers.
  • 2010
    Age 71
    In April 2010, Verhoeven hinted that his next potential film project would be an adaptation of a "Hitchcockian" computer game set in 1914.
    More Details Hide Details Although he would not reveal the title, there was speculation that the project might be an adaptation of The Last Express, a 1997 game designed by Prince of Persia creator Jordan Mechner.
  • 2007
    Age 68
    In 2007 Verhoeven wrote the book Jesus of Nazareth about the life of Jesus of Nazareth.
    More Details Hide Details The book reviews the ideas of Jesus of Nazareth and the alleged corruption of these same ideas over the last 2,000 years. Co-written with Verhoeven's biographer Rob Van Scheers, the book is the culmination of the research Verhoeven conducted in preparation for Jesus: The Man, a motion picture about the life of Christ. The book tells about the Jewish uprising against Roman rule and characterizes Jesus as a radical political activist, downplaying any supernatural events and miracles as unproved or unprovable. Jesus of Nazareth: A Realistic Portrait was released in September 2008 in Dutch and was published in English in May 2010 by Seven Stories Press. Robert J. Miller, author of Born Divine, said about Jesus of Nazareth, "Verhoeven breaks down the gospels and reassembles them into a unique reconstruction of the historical Jesus."
  • 2006
    Age 67
    This film would be Verhoeven's last Dutch film production until the 2006 film Black Book.
    More Details Hide Details Gerard Soeteman also wrote the script for Verhoeven's first American film, Flesh and Blood (1985), which starred Rutger Hauer and Jennifer Jason Leigh. Verhoeven moved to Hollywood for a wider range of opportunities in filmmaking. Working in the U.S. he made a serious change in style, directing big-budget, very violent, special-effects-heavy smashes RoboCop and Total Recall. Both RoboCop and Total Recall won Academy Special Achievement Awards, for Sound Effects Editing and for Visual Effects respectively. Verhoeven followed those successes with the equally intense and provocative Basic Instinct (1992), an erotic thriller. The ninth-highest-grossing film of the year, the movie was a return to themes Verhoeven had explored in Turkish Delight and The Fourth Man. The film's most notorious scene shows Sharon Stone's character in a police interrogation, where she uncrosses her legs, briefly revealing her vulva (she does not wear underwear underneath her skirt). The film received two Academy Awards nominations, for Film Editing and for Original Music.
  • 1980
    Age 41
    In 1980 Verhoeven made the film Spetters with Renée Soutendijk and Rutger Hauer.
    More Details Hide Details The story is sometimes compared to Saturday Night Fever, but the film has more explicit violence and sexuality (in this case also homosexuality), which are sometimes seen as the trademarks of Paul Verhoeven. Verhoeven's film The Fourth Man (1983) is a horror film starring Jeroen Krabbé and Renée Soutendijk. It was written by Gerard Soeteman from a novel by the popular Dutch writer Gerard Reve.
  • 1975
    Age 36
    Verhoeven's 1975 film Katie Tippel again featured Hauer and van de Ven, but it would not match the success of Turkish Delight.
    More Details Hide Details Verhoeven built on his reputation and achieved international success with his Golden Globe nominated film Soldier of Orange, starring Rutger Hauer and Jeroen Krabbé. The film, based on a true story about the Dutch resistance in World War II, was written by Erik Hazelhoff Roelfzema. Soldier of Orange received the 1979 LA Film Critics Award for best foreign language film. It was also nominated for a Golden Globe in 1980.
  • 1973
    Age 34
    His first national success did not come until 1973 with Turkish Delight, starring Rutger Hauer and Monique van de Ven.
    More Details Hide Details This film is based on a novel by bestselling Dutch author Jan Wolkers and tells the passionate love story of an artist and a liberal young girl from a rather conservative background. The film received an Academy Award nomination for Best Foreign Language Film in 1974. In 1999 the film won a Golden Calf for Best Dutch Film of the Century.
  • 1971
    Age 32
    Verhoeven's first feature film Business Is Business was released in 1971 and was not especially well received.
    More Details Hide Details
  • 1969
    Age 30
    His first major success was the 1969 Floris television series, starring Rutger Hauer.
    More Details Hide Details The concept of Floris was inspired by foreign series like Ivanhoe and Thierry La Fronde.
  • 1967
    Age 28
    In 1967 Verhoeven married Martine Tours, with whom he later had two daughters, Claudia (b. 1972), and Helen (b. 1974).
    More Details Hide Details When he left the Navy, Verhoeven took his skills to Dutch television. First, he made a documentary about Anton Mussert named Mussert (1968).
  • 1960
    Age 21
    Verhoeven made his first film A Lizzard Too Much for the anniversary of his students' corps in 1960.
    More Details Hide Details In his last years at university Verhoeven also attended classes at the Netherlands Film Academy. After this he made three more short films Nothing Special (1961), The Hitchhikers (1962) and Let's Have a Party (1963). Verhoeven never used his math and physics degree, opting instead to invest his energies in a career in film. After his studies he entered the Dutch Navy as a conscript. He made the documentary "Het Korps Mariniers" (The Royal Dutch Marine Corps, 1965) about the Navy, which won the French Golden Sun award for military films.
  • 1938
    Paul Verhoeven was born on 18 July 1938 in Amsterdam, Netherlands.
    More Details Hide Details He is the son of school teacher Wim Verhoeven and hat maker Nel van Schaardenburg. Although he was born in Amsterdam, the family lived in the village of Slikkerveer. In 1943 the family moved to The Hague, the location of the German headquarters in the Netherlands during World War II. The Verhoeven house was near a German military base with V1 and V2-rocket launchers, which was repeatedly bombed by allied forces. Their neighbours' house was hit and Verhoeven's parents were almost killed when bombs fell on a street crossing. From this period, Verhoeven mentioned in interviews, he remembers images of violence, burning houses, dead bodies on the street, and continuous danger. As a small child he experienced the war as an exciting adventure and compares himself with the character Bill Rowan in Hope and Glory (1987). Verhoeven's father Wim Verhoeven became head teacher at the Van Heutszschool in The Hague, and Paul Verhoeven attended this school. Sometimes they watched informative films at home with the school's film projector. Paul Verhoeven and his father also liked to see American films that were in the cinema after the liberation, such as The Crimson Pirate (1952). They went as many as ten times to see The War of the Worlds (1953). Paul Verhoeven was a fan of the Dutch comic Dick Bos (nl). The character Dick Bos is a private detective who fights crime using jujutsu.
Original Authors of this text are noted here.
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