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Curtis Hanson, director of LA Confidential, 8 Mile & many more, has died

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Guy Pearce, Curtis Hanson and Russell Crowe on the set of LA Confidential

Oscar-winning writer and film director Curtis Hanson has died at at the age of 71. Police said he died of natural causes.

He won an Oscar in 1998 for best adapted screenplay for LA Confidential, which he also produced and directed. He also directed The Hand That Rocks The Cradle, The River Wild, Wonder Boys, In Her Shows, 8 Mile and many more.

In 1970, Hanson co-wrote The Dunwich Horror, an adaptation of H.P. Lovecraft’s short story. Hanson wrote and directed his next feature Sweet Kill in 1973, then in 1978 wrote and produced The Silent Partner, starring Elliott Gould and Christopher Plummer. From the early 1980s into 1990s, Hanson directed a string of comedies and dramas.

In the 1990s, Hanson found box-office success with The Hand That Rocks the Cradle and The River Wild, and received significant critical acclaim with his 1997 film L.A. Confidential, an adaptation of the James Ellroy novel. The film was nominated for 9 Academy Awards including Best Picture and Best Director, and won two — Best Adapted Screenplay (a credit Hanson shared with Brian Helgeland), and Best Supporting Actress (for Kim Basinger).

Eminem, who starred in 8 Mile had this to say about Hanson:

Curtis Hanson believed in me and our crazy idea to make a rap battle movie set in Detroit. He basically made me into an actor for 8 Mile. I’m lucky I got to know him.

Russell Crowe (LA Confidential) also said:

Thank you for believing in me & standing your ground. In reality you made my job a career. Love & respect my friend.

Kevin Bacon (The River Wild) added:

So sad to hear about Curtis Hanson. great director. Great man. Riding that river with him was one of the greatest gigs of my life.

Hanson’s final project was 2012 surf movie Chasing Mavericks, with Gerard Butler and Elisabeth Shue. However, Curtis dropped out during filming due to an undisclosed illness and was replaced by Michael Apted.

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