Hollywood is a mans' world. Steven Speilberg, James Cameron, George Lucas are the names which spring straight to mind when you ask anyone about who are the Hollywood hotshots.
Kathryn Bigelow is one of the few women to break the patriarchal mould. She directed action adventure Point Break and returns this month with another male dominated film, K-19: The Widowmaker, starring Harrison Ford and Liam Neeson.
According to director/producer Kathryn Bigelow, the story of what happened to K-19 and her crew had everything an action-thriller needed built right into the actual events as they took place during the Cold War. And, since that war was fought on a mental battlefield rather than a physical one, the film, drawn from public sources and historical record, is that much more intriguing and unique.
The story had all the elements for a dramatic movie, says Bigelow, who went to Russia prior to filming to talk with K-19s survivors and their families. It had a built-in ticking clock suspense factor; that is, a nuclear submarine with an impending reactor meltdown that could cause catastrophic global repercussions. It had, at its center, a ferociously dedicated and charismatic captain, whose bold decisions under pressure saved the boat and its crew. And above all, it had the courageous young submariners themselves, who knowingly subjected themselves to a lethal dose of radiation to repair the damage and fend off disaster.
Caught up in making K-19: The Widowmaker for five years, including setting foot on the historic K-19, Bigelow says that she feels privileged to have conducted extensive research with the people whose lives were touched by the K-19 disaster, and she was inspired by their stories to make a film that shows their compelling sacrifice and humanity.
Our film examines the heroism, courage and prowess of the Soviet submarine force in ways never seen before, adds Bigelow. It is a fascinating tale of ordinary people who became heroes when faced with a tragic situation. Capturing the nobility of their sacrifice has been the primary motivation for everyone involved in making this film.
KATHRYN BIGELOW, according to Variety, is an audaciously talented filmmaker determined to push the envelope for women directors, and in the course of her career, she has distinguished herself as one of Hollywoods most innovative filmmakers.
Building up a reputation as one of Hollywoods best filmmakers has been a challenge. Primarily a mans' environment, Bigelow prides herself in the fact she has been involved in some of the most exciting action films ever made, and praise has been coming from all angles.
In 1985, Bigelow directed and also co-wrote the stirring cult classic Near Dark. Produced by Steven-Charles Jaffe, the film was critically lauded as poetic horror, and as always, Bigelows visual style garnered positive reactions from the press who described it as dreamy, passionate and terrifying, a hallucinatory vision of the American night-world that becomes both seductive and devastating. Following the release of Near Dark, the Museum of Modern Art honored Bigelow with a career retrospective.