Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris
|Born||July 7, 1957|
Alameda County, California, U.S. (Dayton)
October 20, 1958
Los Angeles County, California, U.S. (Faris)
|Occupation||Film directors, music video directors|
|Little Miss Sunshine|
Battle of the Sexes
Jonathan Dayton (born July 7, 1957) and Valerie Faris (born October 20, 1958) are a team of American film and music video directors who received critical acclaim for their feature film directorial debut, Little Miss Sunshine (2006). Later the married couple directed the romantic comedy-drama Ruby Sparks (2012), and the biographical sports drama Battle of the Sexes (2017). Their most recent directing project is the Netflix comedy series, Living with Yourself, starring Paul Rudd, which premiered on October 17, 2019.
Dayton was born in Alameda County, California, and grew up in Grass Valley, California. After graduating from Ygnacio Valley High School in Concord, California, he attended the UCLA Film School, studying film and television in the late 1970s; while there, he met Valerie Faris, a dance student and native of Los Angeles County, California, who became his wife and his partner. They have three children together. Valerie is the daughter of Paula Forbes, a supervising painter, and Jim Faris, a film editor.
As a pair, Dayton and Faris have directed and produced music videos, documentaries, commercials and films. They have directed music videos for bands such as Oasis, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Beastie Boys, and R.E.M. Their 1996 video for "Tonight, Tonight" by The Smashing Pumpkins won six MTV Video Music Awards. Another of their videos that found significant success was for the 1990 Extreme song "More Than Words".
They directed a number of sketches for the 1995-1998 HBO sketch comedy series Mr. Show.
In 1998, they established a production company, Bob Industries. Through this company the pair directed commercials for companies such as Hewlett-Packard, Volkswagen, Sony, GAP, Target, IKEA, Apple Computer, and ESPN. The two directed a 1999 commercial for the Volkswagen Cabrio, titled Milky Way, whose soundtrack consisted entirely of the 1972 Nick Drake song "Pink Moon", and which is credited with initiating a massive revival of interest in Nick Drake's music.
They began to be offered feature films to direct at around this time; among projects that they turned down were The Mod Squad (1999) and Bad Boys II (2003).
In 2001, they began to work on the film Little Miss Sunshine; it was released in 2006. The film won the Audience Award at the 2006 Sydney Film festival and an ovation at the 2006 Sundance Film Festival, and was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Picture. Their directing style for the film involved a high level of improvisation to allow the actors to create organic connections to the roles.
In 2006, the pair were announced as the directors of a planned screen adaptation of Tom Perrotta's novel The Abstinence Teacher for Warner Independent Pictures. In 2007 Perrotta wrote a screenplay with input from Dayton and Faris. However, by 2012 they had left the project, and it was taken over by director Lisa Cholodenko.
Their next film was Ruby Sparks in 2012. Dayton and Faris then directed Battle of the Sexes, about the tennis match between Billie Jean King and Bobby Riggs, with Emma Stone as King and Steve Carell as Riggs. The film also stars Elisabeth Shue, Alan Cumming, and Sarah Silverman; it was released in 2017.
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