Entertainment & Arts

Joel Schumacher: Stars remember 'creative and heroic' Lost Boys director

Joel Schumacher, in 2011 Image copyright EPA

Stars including Kiefer Sutherland, Jim Carrey and Sharon Stone have paid tribute to the "wonderfully creative and heroic" St Elmo's Fire, Flatliners and Lost Boys director Joel Schumacher.

Sutherland, who starred in several of Schumacher's films, said his "joy, spirit and talent will live on".

Carrey, who appeared in Batman Forever, also remembered Schumacher fondly following his death at the age of 80.

The Falling Down filmmaker had been ill with cancer for more than a year.

Minnie Driver, who appeared in Schumacher's film adaptation of The Phantom of the Opera in 2004, remembered the director as "the funniest, chicest, most hilarious director I ever worked with".

She recalled: "Once, on set, an actress was complaining about me within earshot; how I was dreadfully over the top (I was) Joel barely looked up from his NYT + said 'Oh Honey, no one ever paid to see under the top.'"

'A beautiful soul'

Matthew McConaughey, who was given his big break by Schumacher in 1996's A Time to Kill, told Variety: "Joel not only took a chance on me, he fought for me... I don't see how my career could have gone to the wonderful places it has if it wasn't for Joel Schumacher believing in me back then."

Corey Feldman, who appeared in The Lost Boys, said the director was "a beautiful soul" who had "sent me supportive messages tight til the end of his life".

Actress and presenter Padma Lakshmi described him as "sharp, whip smart, witty and wise", adding: "He was kind and always had the best advice."

Fellow director Kevin Smith tweeted: "He couldn't have been nicer or more hospitable."

Star Trek writer and producer Bryan Fuller wrote: "I distinctly remember feeling hopeful when I learned he was gay and out and that there may be a place for me yet."

Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Schumacher directed Batman Forever starring Val Kilmer, right, and Chris O'Donnell

Variety wrote that the director "brought his fashion background" to directing and captured the feel of an era with his "stylish films".

The New York native first entered the film industry as a costume designer in the 1970s, working alongside luminaries such as Woody Allen.

He went on to write the 1976 low-budget comedy Car Wash, as well as the screenplay for a film adaptation of the Broadway musical The Wiz.

But his big break came in 1985, with his third feature film St Elmo's Fire, which he co-wrote and directed.

Cannes nomination

Alongside The Breakfast Club, which came out in the same year, it became one of the seminal films of the Brat Pack era and launched Demi Moore's film career.

His follow-up, The Lost Boys - about a group of young vampires in small-town California - became a cult favourite, and his 1990 hit Flatliners saw him again team up with Kiefer Sutherland.

Schumacher worked with some of the biggest names in Hollywood, including Tom Cruise, Julia Roberts and Michael Douglas. He directed Douglas in 1993's Falling Down, which was nominated for the Cannes Film Festival's prestigious Palme D'Or.

He took over the reins of the Batman franchise from Tim Burton in 1995, casting Val Kilmer as the Caped Crusader and Jim Carrey as the Riddler. The film grossed more than $300m worldwide.

Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Schumacher, centre, with Arnold Schwarzenegger and George Clooney

However, his second outing - Batman and Robin - starring George Clooney in the lead and Arnold Schwarzenegger as Mr Freeze was critically panned and nearly finished off Clooney's burgeoning film career.

Schumacher was noted for his ability to pick out new talent and he was fundamental in establishing the careers of A-list stars such as Sutherland, Rob Lowe and Colin Farrell. He directed Farrell in 2000's Tigerland, the actor's first leading role, and later in Phone Booth.

Schumacher's style came to the fore in two memorable music videos, Seal's Kiss From a Rose and INXS's Devil Inside.

His film adaptation of Andrew Lloyd Webber's musical The Phantom of the Opera, which received three Oscar nominations despite lukewarm reviews, was among his last films.

Schumacher was reportedly the composer's first choice as director, with Lord Lloyd Webber having admired his work with music on The Lost Boys.

Most recently, in 2013, he took the helm on a couple of episodes of the first season of Netflix series House of Cards, before more or less retiring from working life.

He once said: "If you love a movie, there are hundreds of people who made it lovable for you. If you don't like it, blame the director. That's what our name's there for."

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