CHUCK RUSSELL has written, directed and produced international box office hits that have grossed well over a billion dollars worldwide. His best known films include the action adventure The Scorpion King starring Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, Eraser starring Arnold Schwarzenegger, and The Mask starring Jim Carrey and Cameron Diaz. Russell also Executive Produced Collateral, starring Tom Cruise and Jamie Foxx.
Russell was born in Danville, Illinois and grew up in Chicago. While attending the University of Illinois, Russell became fascinated with Chicago's active theater scene and began writing, acting and directing one act plays. Chicago's famous Second City Theater was an inspiration for Russell, where he became fascinated with comedy improv, studying techniques he later applied in the development of such films as Back to School and The Mask.
After graduating from the University of Illinois, Russell left Chicago hoping to begin work in film production in Los Angeles. He worked his way up, assistant directing and production managing independent films while writing screenplays… including co-writing and producing the indie sic fi classic, DREAMSCAPE, starring Dennis Quaid, Christopher Plummer and Max Von Sydow.
Russell made his directorial debut in 1987 with A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors, which he cowrote with Frank Darabont from an original by Wes Craven. At that time, New Line Cinema was uncertain about the future of the Elm Street franchise. Russell convinced them that the series could take a step further into Freddy's nightmare world through dark humor and cutting edge visual effects… and dramatize the bond among Freddy's youthful victims with the concept of "Dream Warriors". Elm Street 3 successfully redefined the franchise for New Line. At the time of its release Elm Street 3 was the highest grossing independent film ever made and gave Patricia Arquette her first leading role.
Russell went on to write and direct the cult horror film, The Blob in 1988, once again stretching the boundaries of visual effects on a limited budget. He then found international acclaim with the blockbuster, The Mask. Russell created ground breaking digital technologies for The Mask with George Lucas' Industrial Light and Magic, combining live action performance with radically new concepts in visual effects. Russell's work earned the film an Academy Award nomination for Best Visual Effects. The Mask also created international stardom for both Jim Carrey and Cameron Diaz. With a production budget of $18 million dollars, The Mask earned more than $350 million in worldwide box office.
Russell then went on to direct the action\adventure blockbusters, Eraser with Arnold Schwarzenegger and The Scorpion King, which was the first leading role for WWE star Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson. Both films were #1 international box office hits upon their release.
In recent years, Russell has made several trips to China developing new projects that are influenced by Eastern mythology and the rich tradition of martial arts in Chinese cinema. These projects include a large-scale action adventure version of the classic, 1001 Arabian Nights.
After meeting John Travolta in late 2014, Chuck agreed to direct the gritty indie thriller I AM WRATH, which was shot on location in the back streets of Columbus, Ohio. WRATH features a terrific ensemble cast that includes Chris Meloni, Rebecca De Mornay, Amanda Schull, Sam Trammell and Patrick St. Esprit.
Chuck is currently in development on both feature films and series for television.
The Scorpion King