Primary Colors: About The Filmmakers

Buy this video from

Books from
Buy The Book.

Music from
Buy The Soundtrack.

MIKE NICHOLS (Director/Producer) is a multi-faceted leader in the entertainment industry who has been honored for his contributions to both the stage and screen. During the course of his distinguished career, his many accolades have included an Oscar® , an Emmy, seven Tony Awards and a Directors Guild Award.

Nichols directed his first film, Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, in 1966, for which he was nominated for an Academy Award® for Best Director and for which Elizabeth Taylor won an Academy Award® for Best Actress. The following year, he won the Oscar® for Best Director as well as the Directors Guild Award and the New York Film Critics Award for The Graduate, which propelled Dustin Hoffman to instant stardom and an Academy Award® nomination. The Graduate also received an Academy Award® nomination for Best Picture and nearly three decades later remains one of the seminal films of a generation.

Subsequently, Nichols has gone on to direct numerous critically and commercially successful films including Silkwood and Working Girl, both nominated for Academy Awards® for Best Director, Catch 22, Carnal Knowledge, Heartburn, Biloxi Blues, Postcards from the Edge, Regarding Henry, Wolf and the Elaine May-penned The Birdcage.

Nichols was born in Berlin, Germany to a Russian father and German mother. His family immigrated to the United States when he was seven and he was brought up in New York City. He attended the University of Chicago where, together with Elaine May and Paul Sills, he founded the comedy group The Compass, later renamed Second City.

In 1957, the now legendary team of Nichols and May was formed. Starting at the Blue Angel in New York, they performed in nightclubs all over the country. Nichols and May created numerous television specials and appeared as guests on Omnibus, The Dinah Shore Show and The Jack Paar Show. In 1960, they brought An Evening with Mike Nichols and Elaine May to Broadway, where it ran for a year. The show was still selling out when the team decided to end the run and pursue separate careers. At this time, Nichols turned to directing.

Nichols began directing for the stage, making his Broadway debut in 1963 with the Neil Simon comedy Barefoot in the Park, starring Robert Redford, which won his first of seven Tony Awards. He then went on to win Tony Awards as Best Director for Luv, The Odd Couple, Plaza Suite, Prisoner of Second Avenue and The Real Thing as well.

Additionally, Nichols directed an unprecedented string of hits that include The Knack, The Apple Tree, the 1978 Pulitzer Prize-winning The Gin Game and the winner of the New York Drama Critics Award, Streamers. He also directed the highly successful revivals of The Little Foxes and Uncle Vanya, the U.S. production of Comedians as well as Hurlyburly, Social Security, Waiting for Godot and Death and the Maiden. As a theatrical producer, he presented Whoopi Goldberg on Broadway and the smash Broadway musical Annie, which won seven Tony Awards, spawning a feature film adaptation and the now-classic anthem "Tomorrow."

In 1987, Nichols received the George Abbott Award and in 1990 was honored by the American Museum of the Moving Image for his contribution to the film industry.

ELAINE MAY (Screenwriter) has had a multi-faceted career as a writer, director and performer. She has appeared on screen in such films as Luv, Enter Laughing, California Suite and In the Spirit, and made her film directorial debut with A New Leaf, which she also scripted and starred in opposite Walter Mathau. She wrote and directed Mikey and Nicky and Ishtar, and directed The Heartbreak Kid from a screenplay by Neil Simon. She was honored with an Academy Award® nomination for Best Screenplay for the hit comedy Heaven Can Wait, which she co-wrote with the film's star, Warren Beatty.

Her plays include Adaptation, Not Enough Rope, Mr. Gogol and Mr. Preen and the one act play Hot Line, which was presented as part of the 1995 off-Broadway hit Death Defying Acts. She also directed the off-Broadway production of Terrence McNally's Adaptation/Next. In April 1998, she is appearing in Power Plays, three one acts, two by May and one by Alan Arkin, who will direct and star opposite her.

May and Mike Nichols were both members of the trailblazing Compass Players which later became Second City. They went on to create one of the most successful comedy duos of the day. Together they headlined An Evening with Nichols and May on Broadway for a successful year-long run, in addition to appearing at cabaret clubs around the country. In l996, May wrote the screenplay for The Birdcage, which marked her first official collaboration with Nichols for the big screen.

NEIL MACHLIS (Executive Producer) previously worked with Mike Nichols as the executive producer on Postcards From the Edge, Wolf and The Birdcage. He also executive produced the hit comedies Honeymoon in Vegas, starring Nicolas Cage, Trains, Planes and Automobiles, teaming Steve Martin and John Candy and Chances Are, starring Robert Downey Jr. and Cybill Shepherd.

Machlis served as co-producer for the romantic comedy I.Q., starring Tim Robbins, Meg Ryan and Walter Matthau, the hit sequel Three Men and a Little Lady, An Innocent Man and Monster Squad.

A graduate of the very first class of the Directors Guild Training Program, Machlis began his career working on such films as Lenny and Play It Again, Sam. He later worked his way up through the ranks from second assistant director to first assistant director and production manager to associate producer.

Machlis' early credits as associate producer or production manager include such diverse films as Grease, Grease 2, American Gigolo, Mommie Dearest, Johnny Dangerously, 2010 and Gung Ho.

JONATHAN KRANE (Executive Producer) is a Hollywood producer who has made 35 films, including Michael, Phenomenon and the Look Who's Talking trilogy which was the most profitable in TriStar's history costing only $7 million and making over $330 million and winner of the People's Choice and Nickelodeon awards for Best Comedy, film. Krane's numerous other producing credits include Blind Date, Micki & Maude, The Man Who Loved Women, Trail and Curse of the Pink Panther, Getting It Right, That's Life, Convicts, Cold Heaven and the cult hits, Sandra Bernhard's Without You I'm Nothing and Keith Gordon's Chocolate War, Boris and Natasha and Breaking The Rules.

Krane executive produced Disney Studios' Phenomenon which has made over $100 million to date. He also executive produced Nora Ephron's Michael, which opened to a $25 million weekend, as well as most recently Mad City, Face/Off and the upcoming Civil Action.

On the independent film front, Krane has made approximately 15 films, which he has solely financed. He most recently finished producing Point of Betrayal, which he wrote and is currently part of the film festival circuit where it won The Golden Palm Award. He financed, produced and is now arranging distribution for Lay of the Land and is currently in post-production on Movies Kill, another project he solely financed.

Krane is the chairman and CEO of The Jonathan Krane Group (deal with Fox 2000), through which he develops, packages, finances and produces films and manages talent. Although Krane has managed over 150 prominent actors, writers and directors, he now keeps his roster very small, managing only John Travolta and various writers. He is also the president/owner of Krane Classics, an independent film division under the umbrella of The Jonathan Krane Group.

MICHAEL BALLHAUS, A.S.C. (Director of Photography) previously teamed with Mike Nichols on Postcards from the Edge and Working Girl.

Ballhaus is a two-time Oscar® nominee, having been so honored for The Fabulous Baker Boys and Broadcast News. The German-born cinematographer garnered awards for GoodFellas (L.A. Film Critics and B.F.A.), The Age of Innocence (B.F.A.) and Dracula (Chicago Film Critics), as well as the German Bundesfilmpreis for The Bitter Tears of Petra Von Kant and the Berlin Film Festival Silver Bear for The Marriage of Maria Braun.

He also shot Air Force One and Outbreak for director Wolfgang Petersen, Quiz Show, I'll Do Anything, The Mambo Kings, What About Bob?, Guilty by Suspicion, The House on Carroll Street, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels and The Glass Menagerie.

A frequent collaborator with Martin Scorsese, Ballhaus shot The Last Temptation of Christ, The Color of Money, After Hours and the aforementioned GoodFellas and The Age of Innocence.

BO WELCH (Production Designer) previously worked with Mike Nichols on The Birdcage for which he earned an Academy Award® nomination for Best Art Direction and Wolf. Welch's innovative designs have set the tone for such distinctly stylish films as Barry Sonnenfeld's Men in Black and Tim Burton's Edward Scissorhands (for which he won a BAFTA), Beetlejuice and Batman Returns.

In 1995, he received an Academy Award nomination as well as the LA Film Critics Award for Best Art Director for his work on Alfonso Cuaron's A Little Princess, a project for which he also served as second unit director. Lawrence Kasdan's Grand Canyon and The Accidental Tourist, John Patrick Shanley's Joe Versus the Volcano and Joel Schumacher's The Lost Boys also number among his credits.

Prior to making the transition to production designer, Welch had been honored with an Academy Award® nomination for his art direction on Steven Spielberg's The Color Purple. Earlier in his career, he worked as an art director on such films as Swing Shift, Mommie Dearest, Chilly Scenes of Winter and The Star Chamber.

ARTHUR SCHMIDT (Editor) garnered two Academy Awards®, the most recent for his astounding blending of past and present in Robert Zemeckis' blockbuster Forrest Gump. He received his first Oscar® for another Zemeckis smash, Who Framed Roger Rabbit?. Schmidt also collaborated with Zemeckis on all three of the Back to the Future hits as well as Death Becomes Her.

In addition, Schmidt edited Contact, The Birdcage, Addams Family Values, Last of the Mohicans, Ruthless People, The Rocketeer, Fandango, The Escape Artist, Firstborn, Coal Miner's Daughter and Marathon Man. Earlier in his career, he teamed with Mike Nichols as assistant editor on The Fortune.

Multi-talented RY COODER (Music) is one of today's most intriguing composers and recording artists. He has been honored with numerous awards including Grammy awards for Meeting By The River, a duo album with Vishwa Mohan Bhatt, a virtuoso guitarist from the northern Indian state of Rajastan, and for his recording Talking Timbuktu, with Malinese guitarist Ali Farka Toure, and a Grammy nomination for his latest recording as a member of the Buena Vista Social Club.

Having maintained a successful recording career for over 25 years, Cooder has worked as a session guitarist with such talented musicians as the Rolling Stones, Neil Young, Randy Newman, Van Morrison and Johnny Cash. He has devoted most of his career to an exploration of different areas and aspects of music, evidenced by his diverse albums Paradise & Lunch, Bop Till You Drop and Borderline.

In 1980, Cooder composed his first film score for The Long Riders. Since then, he has amassed an impressive list of feature film credits including Wes Hill's Trespass, Geronimo: An American Legend and Last Man Standing as well as Wim Wenders' widely-lauded Paris, Texas and The End of Violence, which was heralded the best score of 1997 by the New York Times. He was recruited by Tim Robbins to produce tracks with Eddie Vedder, Nusrat Fatah Ali Khan and Johnny Cash for the critically-acclaimed Dead Man Walking. His numerous additional feature film credits include Southern Comfort, The Border, Streets of Fire and Crossroads.

ANN ROTH (Costume Designer) continues a longtime association with Mike Nichols that began on Broadway and continues on screen. She created the costumes for the director's previous eight motion pictures: The Birdcage, Wolf, Regarding Henry, Postcards from the Edge, Working Girl, Biloxi Blues, Heartburn and Silkwood. Roth and Nichols also collaborated on the stage productions of The Odd Couple, Lunch Hour, Social Security and the Lincoln Center revival of Waiting for Godot.

One of the most distinguished designers in the industry, Roth received an Academy Award® earlier this year for her work on The English Patient. She also received an Oscar® nomination for her work on Places in the Heart and won the British Academy Award for John Schlesinger's The Day of the Locust.

Roth's extensive motion picture credits also include Frank Oz's current hit In & Out, Sydney Pollack's Sabrina, Before and After, Just Cause, Dave, Q & A, Pacific Heights, Family Business, The Unbearable Lightness of Being, The Morning After, Sweet Dreams, Jagged Edge, The World According to Garp, Dressed to Kill, Nine to Five, Hair, Coming Home, The Goodbye Girl, The Owl and the Pussycat, Klute and Midnight Cowboy.

Roth continues to divide her time between the stage and screen and recently designed costumes for the New York productions of Singin' in the Rain and Arms and the Man.

Back to "Primary Colors"

Look for Search Tips

Copyright 1994-2008 Film Scouts LLC
Created, produced, and published by Film Scouts LLC
Film Scouts® is a registered trademark of Film Scouts LLC
All rights reserved.

Suggestions? Comments? Fill out our Feedback Form.