Antoine Fuqua
Born (1965-05-30) May 30, 1965 (age 59)
  • Film director
  • producer
Years active1992–present
(m. 1999)
FamilyHarvey Fuqua (uncle)

Antoine Fuqua (/ˈæntwɒn ˈfjkwə/; born May 30, 1965)[1][2] is an American film director known for his work in the action and thriller genres. He was originally known as a director of music videos, and made his film debut in 1998 with The Replacement Killers. His critical breakthrough was the 2001 crime thriller Training Day, winning the Black Reel Award for Outstanding Director.

His subsequent films include Tears of the Sun (2003), King Arthur (2004), Shooter (2007), Olympus Has Fallen (2013), Southpaw (2015), The Magnificent Seven (2016) and The Equalizer trilogy (2014–2023), earning with the first one the NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Directing in a Motion Picture.

He also directed the critically acclaimed documentaries American Dream/American Knightmare (2018), What's My Name: Muhammad Ali (2019), and the 2022 Hulu documentary series Legacy: The True Story of the LA Lakers, for which he won the Sports Emmy Awards for Outstanding Documentary Series.[3]

Early life

Fuqua was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania to African American parents Carlos and Mary Fuqua. He graduated from Taylor Allderdice High School in 1983.[4] Before turning to filmmaking and music videos, Fuqua studied electrical engineering, with the hope of going on to fly jets in the military.[5]

Fuqua pays tribute to screenwriter Shinobu Hashimoto, a frequent collaborator of Akira Kurosawa's, saying his writing "affected a boy from Pittsburgh living in the ghetto."

[Shinobu Hashimoto's writing] was so beautiful and poetic and powerful and heartbreaking. It was all about justice, it was all about sacrifice, and it made me want to be one of those guys. I came from a rough area, and I had my own version of watching poor people getting pushed down – whoever the person was who had the power, they would come in and take from other people.[6]

Fuqua explained how his experience of violence shaped his adolescence, and played a role in his eventual choice of career.

My first big break was when I got shot when I was fifteen. It changed my life and it made me not hang out in the streets as much, and go to the movies more. Those sort of things are wake up calls to have a better appreciation for life, and a better appreciation for the people around you. From that moment in my life I put all my energy into what I believed in, and at that time it was playing basketball and sports. That led me to a scholarship ... after that a professor said that I should take an art class ... I fell in love with an artist by the name of Caravaggio.[7]


Fuqua began his career directing music videos for popular artists such as Toni Braxton, Stevie Wonder, and Prince. He directed Michelle Pfeiffer in the video Gangsta's Paradise by Coolio which was used to promote Jerry Bruckheimer's successful film Dangerous Minds.

The movie became a big hit and Jerry Bruckheimer was kind enough to give me a lot of credit for it because they used my music video ... the irony was people thought I was the new French film director. No one had any idea I was this guy from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. So I used to walk in the room and people would literally ask me to get coffee. And I would say, "No, no, I'm the director", and I loved watching their faces. That was fun.[7]

From 1998 onwards, Fuqua began working primarily as a feature film director. In a tribute article for Time magazine, Fuqua expressed his early respect for Kurosawa as a filmmaker and how Kurosawa influenced his own perspective on filmmaking stating: "[screen writer Hashimoto's] ... working with Akira Kurosawa and Hideo Oguni, was so beautiful and poetic and powerful and heartbreaking. It was all about justice, it was all about sacrifice, and it made me want to be one of those guys".[6]

His first feature films were the John Woo-produced action film The Replacement Killers (1998), starring Chow Yun Fat and the action comedy Bait (2000) starring Jamie Foxx. He then directed the crime thriller Training Day (2001), for which star Denzel Washington won an Academy Award for Best Actor. His next films were the action war drama Tears of the Sun (2003), the Arthurian legend film King Arthur (2004), the conspiracy action thriller Shooter (2007), the crime film Brooklyn's Finest (2009), and the action thrillers Olympus Has Fallen (2013) and The Equalizer (2014), the latter of which again pairs Fuqua with Denzel Washington. In 2011, he directed CIA procedural Fox pilot Exit Strategy starring Ethan Hawke.[8][9]

Fuqua at the 2016 Toronto International Film Festival

He co-created the comic-book miniseries After Dark with Wesley Snipes, which was written by Peter Milligan and illustrated by Jeff Nentrup.[10] He was slated to direct Tupac Shakur's official biopic[11] but the project was postponed to allow Fuqua to direct rapper Eminem's second feature film, Southpaw (2015).[12] Eminem later left Southpaw to focus on his music,[13] and was replaced with Jake Gyllenhaal.[14]

Fuqua's 2016 film, The Magnificent Seven, was a remake of the classic 1960 Western of the same name which itself was an American remake of Kurosawa's 1954 film, Seven Samurai. Denzel Washington plays the lead role of Sam Chisolm.[15]

In early 2018, Fuqua worked as one of the executive producers on the Fox medical drama series The Resident. In the summer of 2018, his thriller sequel The Equalizer 2 (2018) was released with Denzel Washington returning in the main role. In June 2021, Fuqua's sci-fi film Infinite, starring Mark Wahlberg and Chiwetel Ejiofor was released.

In 2021, Fuqua and actor Will Smith announced that their upcoming film, Emancipation, will not be filmed in Georgia because of the recent passage of Georgia's restrictive voting law. Smith and Fuqua released the joint statement: "We cannot in good conscience provide economic support to a government that enacts regressive voting laws that are designed to restrict voter access".[16]

On December 3, 2021, he signed a first look deal with Netflix and renamed his production company from Fuqua Films to Hill District Media.[17] He later signed an overall television deal with Paramount Television Studios and MTV Entertainment Studios.[18]

In January 2023, Fuqua announced his next film project would be Michael, a biographical film about Michael Jackson, starring Jackson's nephew Jaafar Jackson and being produced by Graham King.[19][20]

Personal life

Fuqua with his wife Lela Rochon in 2007

Fuqua and actress Lela Rochon became engaged in 1998 and married on April 9, 1999. Daughter Asia Rochon Fuqua was born on July 28, 2002, and son Brando in May 2004. Fuqua has a son, Zachary, from a previous relationship. He also has two granddaughters.[21]

When asked by the BBC in September 2014 whether he believes in God, Fuqua said: "Absolutely. I believe in God, absolutely."[22]



Year Title Director Producer
1998 The Replacement Killers Yes No
2000 Bait Yes No
2001 Training Day Yes No
2003 Tears of the Sun Yes No
2004 King Arthur Yes No
2007 Shooter Yes No
2009 Brooklyn's Finest Yes Executive
2013 Olympus Has Fallen Yes Yes
2014 The Equalizer Yes No
2015 Southpaw Yes Yes
2016 The Magnificent Seven Yes Executive
2018 The Equalizer 2 Yes Yes
2021 Infinite Yes Executive
The Guilty Yes Yes
2022 Bullet Train No Yes
Emancipation Yes Executive
2023 The Equalizer 3 Yes Yes
2024 Rob Peace No Yes
2025 Michael Yes No

Documentary films

Year Title
Director Producer Notes
2004 Lightning in a Bottle Yes No
2005 Bastards of the Party No Yes
2016 Forever Brothers: The '71 Pittsburgh Pirates Story No Executive TV movie
2018 American Dream/American Knightmare Yes Yes
2019 What's My Name: Muhammad Ali Yes Yes
2021 The Day Sports Stood Still Yes Yes


Year Title
Director Executive
2016–2017 Ice Yes Yes Episode "Hyenas"
2022 The Terminal List Yes Yes Episode "The Engram"
Legacy: The True Story of the LA Lakers Yes Yes 10 episodes

Executive producer only

Music videos

Year Title Artist Ref(s)
1990 "I Like the Girls" Mr. Lee [24]
1992 "Love's Taken Over" Chanté Moore [25]
"It's Alright"
"All I See" Christopher Williams
"Saving Forever for You" Shanice
1993 "Another Sad Love Song" Toni Braxton [24]
"The Morning After" Maze featuring Frankie Beverly
"Nobody Does It Betta" Mint Condition [26]
1994 "Ain't Nobody" Jaki Graham
"Somewhere" Shanice
"I'm in the Mood" CeCe Peniston
"Deep Down" Ladae [27]
"The Most Beautiful Girl in the World" Prince [24]
"Sending My Love" Zhané [28]
"United Front" Arrested Development [24]
1995 "For Your Love" Stevie Wonder [29]
"Freedom" Various Artists [30]
"Gangsta's Paradise" Coolio [31]
1996 "Someday" All-4-One [32]
1998 "Bedtime (Version 2)" Usher Raymond
1999 "Blue Angels" Pras
2007 "Citizen/Soldier" 3 Doors Down [33]
2011 "Mirror" Lil Wayne [34]



  1. ^ "'The Equalizer 3' Scene Breakdown with Director Antoine Fuqua" – via
  2. ^ "Celebrity birthdays for the week of May 30-June 5". May 24, 2021.
  3. ^ "THE NATIONAL ACADEMY OF TELEVISION ARTS & SCIENCES ANNOUNCES THE WINNERS OF THE 44th ANNUAL SPORTS EMMY® AWARDS" (PDF). National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences. May 22, 2023. Retrieved May 23, 2023.
  4. ^ Owen, Rob (December 8, 2022). "TV Talk: Pittsburgh native Antoine Fuqua directs Will Smith in 'Emancipation' on Apple TV+". Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. Retrieved January 18, 2023.
  5. ^ nthWORD Archived May 10, 2010, at the Wayback Machine, April, 2010
  6. ^ a b "Antoine Fuqua Remembers the Storytelling Genius of Shinobu Hashimoto". Time.
  7. ^ a b Video on YouTube
  8. ^ "Antoine Fuqua To Direct Fox Pilot 'Exit Strategy' Starring Ethan Hawke". IndieWire. January 22, 2011. Retrieved July 25, 2021.
  9. ^ Nellie Andreeva (January 21, 2011). "Fox Picks Up 'Exit Strategy' Pilot Starring Ethan Hawke; Antoine Fuqua To Direct". Deadline. Retrieved July 25, 2021.
  10. ^ "Cover Artwork for After Dark Comic Issues No. 0 and #1". DreadCentral. October 7, 2012.
  11. ^ Production On Tupac Film To Begin This Spring Archived September 19, 2011, at the Wayback Machine AllHipHop.
  12. ^ "Eminem's boxing movie may delay the Tupac Shakur biopic yet again". AV Club. June 7, 2011. Retrieved October 22, 2011.
  13. ^ "Eminem cancels Southpaw". Archived from the original on May 13, 2012.
  14. ^ Toro, Gabe (March 11, 2013). "Antoine Fuqua Says '24' Movie Is Dead, Still Waiting On The Script For Tupac Shakur Biopic". Indiewire.
  15. ^ "'Magnificent Seven' Director On Staying True To The Original Film's Message". NPR (Interview with Terry Gross on NPR's Fresh Air). Retrieved September 23, 2016.
  16. ^ Sperling, Nicole (April 12, 2021). "Will Smith's production pulls out of Georgia, citing the state's voting law". The New York Times.
  17. ^ Kroll, Justin (December 3, 2021). "Antoine Fuqua Signs First-Look Film Partnership With Netflix". Deadline. Retrieved December 4, 2021.
  18. ^ Otterson, Joe (March 22, 2022). "Antoine Fuqua Signs Overall TV Deal With MTV Entertainment Studios, Paramount". Variety. Retrieved April 3, 2022.
  19. ^ "Antoine Fuqua to Direct Michael Jackson Biopic for Lionsgate, Set to Begin Shooting This Year". Variety. January 18, 2023. Retrieved January 24, 2023.
  20. ^ Galuppo, Mia (January 30, 2023). "Michael Jackson's Nephew Jaafar Jackson to Play Him in Biopic". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved January 31, 2023.
  21. ^ Company, Johnson Publishing (March 17, 2003). "Jet". Johnson Publishing Company – via Google Books.
  22. ^ Hennigan, Adrian (September 24, 2014). "Calling The Shots: Antoine Fuqua". BBC. Retrieved March 23, 2017.
  23. ^ White, Peter; Andreeva, Nellie (April 3, 2023). "King Shaka Event Series Not Going Forward At Showtime, Expected To Be Shopped". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved June 7, 2023.
  24. ^ a b c d Checkoway, Laura (March 2007). "Shot in the Dark". Vibe. p. 108. Retrieved September 2, 2021.
  25. ^ "Straight from video". Retrieved September 2, 2021.
  26. ^ Fuqua, Antoine. "Mint Condition - "Nobody Does It Betta"". music video. Archived from the original on April 13, 2014. Retrieved April 10, 2014.
  27. ^ "Ladae - "Deep Down"". music video credits. Archived from the original on March 3, 2016. Retrieved April 20, 2013.
  28. ^ Ducreay, Safra (July 25, 2018). "How Naughty By Nature Played a Key Role in the Success of Zhane's 'Sending My Love'". The Boombox. Retrieved September 2, 2021.
  29. ^ "Music Video - Production Notes". Billboard. New York, New York: BPI Communications. April 8, 1995. p. 53. Retrieved September 2, 2021.
  30. ^ Burgess, Omar (July 21, 2011). "Throwback Thursday Revisits "Freedom (Theme From 'Panther')"". HipHopDX. Retrieved September 2, 2021.
  31. ^ Epstein, Dan (August 7, 2015). "Coolio's 'Gangsta's Paradise': The Oral History of 1995's Pop-Rap Smash". Rolling Stone. Retrieved September 2, 2021.
  32. ^ McCormick, Moira (May 25, 1996). "'Hunchback' Soundtrack Tie-Ins Abound". Billboard. p. 10. Retrieved September 2, 2021.
  33. ^ Champagne, Christine (October 28, 2007). "Filmmaker on Guard with Citizen Soldier". SHOOTonline. Retrieved September 2, 2021.
  34. ^ Osei, Anthony (November 3, 2011). "Lil Wayne Taps Antoine Fuqua for "Mirror" Video". Complex. Retrieved September 2, 2021.