With his cooler-than-thou shades and a quick smile that's a testament to his easygoing demeanor, director Antoine Fuqua looks more like a leading man than a man who leads the team. Nevertheless, the music video and commercial director-turned-feature-film visionary has continually impressed moviegoers ever since bringing Hong Kong superstar Chow Yun-Fat to American audiences with his flashy feature debut, The Replacement Killers. Now a bona fide visionary, he has found greater success with his most recent film, Shooter, starring Mark Whalberg. Read More >
A native of Pittsburgh, Fuqua cut his teeth in film by directing videos for such artists as Arrested Development, Prince, and Toni Braxton, and the tell-tale signs of admitted influence Tony Scott could clearly be seen even in these early works. Commercials for Reebok and Toyota found Fuqua continuing to develop his strong sense of style, and in 1998, he finally earned his first feature-film credit with The Replacement Killers. A loud, flashy, and exciting journey through the criminal underworld, the film was initially dismissed as an exercise in style over substance, despite the fact that it was an undeniably enjoyable action romp. He went on to film Bait, an action comedy starring Jamie Foxx, but it was Fuqua's next film that would prove that he could also paint interesting and compelling characters.
Though the good-cop/bad-cop routine had been played out by the time Training Day hit theaters in 2001, the combination of David Ayer's smart script, Fuqua's assured direction, and powerhouse performances by lead actors Denzel Washington and Ethan Hawke created one of the most arresting police dramas of its time. In addition to substantially boosting its director's reputation, Training Day earned lead actors Washington and Hawke both Academy Award nominations -- with Washington taking home the Oscar for Best Actor.
Fuqua followed up with the bombastic action thriller Tears of the Sun and his 2004 blues documentary Lightning in a Bottle found the generally flashy director toning things down a bit to investigate the history of one of America's most beloved musical styles. Later that year, Fuqua returned to feature territory with what would be his biggest production to date, a historical drama detailing the life of the eponymous leader of the Knights of the Round Table, King Arthur. Read Less ^