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Doug Liman

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Doug Liman

Doug Liman
Liman at the 2011 Tribeca Film Festival Vanity Fair party
Born Douglas Eric Liman[1]
(1965-07-24) July 24, 1965
New York City, New York, USA
Occupation Film director, producer
Years active 1994–present

Douglas Eric "Doug" Liman (born July 24, 1965) is an American film director and producer best known for Swingers (1996), The Bourne Identity (2002), Mr. & Mrs. Smith (2005), Jumper (2008), Fair Game (2010), and Edge of Tomorrow (2014).

Early life

Liman was born in New York City, the son of Ellen (née Fogelson), a painter and writer, and Arthur L. Liman, a lawyer well known for his public service, which included serving as chief counsel for the Senate Iran-Contra hearings. He has two siblings, Emily and Lewis.[2] Liman was raised Jewish.[3]

Liman began making short films while still in junior high school and studied at International Center of Photography in New York City. While attending Brown University, he helped to co-found the student-run cable television station BTV and served as its first station manager. With the help of a major grant through his father's connections from the now-defunct CBS Foundation, he also co-founded the National Association of College Broadcasters (NACB), the first trade association geared to student-staffed radio and television stations, in 1988. Liman attended the graduate program at University of Southern California, where he was tapped to helm his first project in 1993, the comedy thriller Getting In/Student Body.[4]


Liman became attached to direct Swingers when its screenwriter Jon Favreau turned down offers from studios who wanted to cast established actors. The director agreed to cast Favreau and his friends (Vince Vaughn, Ron Livingston, and Patrick Van Horn) in this comedy about struggling actors amid the L.A. club milieu. The result was a $250,000 dialogue-propelled film that became a sleeper hit and critical success. In addition to establishing a cult following, it jump-started the careers of the featured actors. Liman sold the film to Miramax for $5.5 million; shortly after the sale, Favreau refused to speak to Liman. They rekindled their friendship years later.[5]

Liman's next effort, Go (1999), tracked the events of one night through three different points of view as plot lines diverged and reconverged; Liman was also the film's cinematographer. The film made a profit at the box office grossing $28.4 million worldwide against a $6.5 million budget.

In 1999, Liman shot a commercial for Nike in which Tiger Woods, without letting the ball touch the ground, repeatedly bounced a ball on his club and then drove it into the distance.

Liman at the Cannes Film Festival, May 2010

Liman enjoyed further commercial success when he directed the action thriller The Bourne Identity (2002), an adaptation of author Robert Ludlum's novel. The film that Liman delivered lacked sufficient action sequences to satisfy test groups of young males, so Universal Studios required him to shoot almost twenty minutes of replacement scenes. Liman remained with the Bourne franchise through its next two installments (2004's The Bourne Supremacy and 2007's The Bourne Ultimatum), but served instead as an executive producer while Paul Greengrass took over directing duties on both films. Building on his success, Liman executive produced and directed the pilot episode (Premiere) as well as the second episode (The Model Home) of the successful Fox prime time drama The O.C. (2003–2007). Liman produced and directed a series of comedy shorts for the Chrysler Film Project and Cannes Film Festival entitled Indie Is Great.

Liman also directed Mr. & Mrs. Smith (2005), a comedic thriller about an increasingly distant married couple, both secretly assassins, who are hired to kill each other. The film, his most commercially successful to date, is also well known for the off-screen romance between stars Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie, who developed a high-profile relationship after making the film. In 2005, Liman signed on to direct the pilot episode of NBC's television series Heist, which is about a season-long attempt to rob three jewelry stores on Beverly Hills' swanky Rodeo Drive.

His film adaptation of Steven Gould's science fiction novel Jumper was released in 2008.[6]

In 2009, he co-founded the website which is geared towards fans of action movies and television, gaming, extreme sports and viral videos. He also maintains a blog on the site.

He directed 2010's Fair Game, about the Plame affair, which competed for the Palme d'Or at the 2010 Cannes Film Festival.[7]

In 2011, Liman directed and produced I Just Want My Pants Back, a television series that aired on MTV. He produces Covert Affairs and Suits, two original series on the USA Network. He directed the film adaptation of the Hiroshi Sakurazaka novel, All You Need is Kill, released as Edge of Tomorrow (2014).

Most of his career has been associated with the production company, Hypnotic. He is co-owner with Dave Bartis, whom he met as an undergraduate at Brown University where they co-founded BTV and NACB.

Liman serves on the boards of the Legal Action Center, Symphony Space in New York City, and is actively involved in the Arthur Liman undergraduate fellowship program.


Year Film Director Producer Writer Notes
1994 Getting In Yes
1996 Swingers Yes MTV Movie Award for Best New Filmmaker
1999 Go Yes Nominated – Independent Spirit Award for Best Director
2002 The Bourne Identity Yes Yes
2004 Mail Order Wife Yes
2005 Mr. & Mrs. Smith Yes
2008 Jumper Yes
2010 Fair Game Yes Yes Nominated – Palme d'Or
2014 Edge of Tomorrow Yes
2015 Splinter Cell

Executive producers credits only


  1. ^ The film daily (Wid's Films and Film Folk Inc.) 127: 37. 1965. 
  2. ^ Doug Liman Biography (1965?-)
  3. ^ Fairness not just a game for director | Film | Jewish Journal
  4. ^ Notable Alumni, USC School of Cinematic Arts.
  5. ^ New York Magazine, "The Liman Identity" - Jan. 13, 2008
  6. ^ "'"Prized Director In Talks for 'All You Need Is Kill. BloodyDisgusting. 
  7. ^ "Hollywood Reporter: Cannes Lineup". hollywoodreporter. Retrieved 2010-04-15. 

External links

  • "The Liman Identity" – New York Magazine biography
  • Doug Liman at the Internet Movie Database
  • – Doug Liman's Action Website
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