Sam Raimi
Raimi in 2014
Born
Samuel M. Raimi

(1959-10-23) October 23, 1959 (age 62)
Occupation
  • Film director
  • film producer
  • screenwriter
  • actor
Years active1972–present
Spouse(s)
Gillian Greene
(m. 1993)
Children5
RelativesTed Raimi (brother)
Ivan Raimi (brother)
Lorne Greene (father-in-law)

Samuel M. Raimi[1] (/ˈrmi/ RAYM-ee; born October 23, 1959)[2][3] is an American filmmaker, and actor, primarily known for creating the cult horror Evil Dead franchise, and directing the Spider-Man trilogy (2002–2007). He also directed the 1990 superhero film Darkman, the 1998 neo-noir crime-thriller A Simple Plan, the 2000 supernatural thriller film The Gift, the 2009 supernatural horror film Drag Me to Hell, and the 2013 Disney fantasy film Oz the Great and Powerful. His films are known for their ostentatious and highly-dynamic visual style, inspired by comic books and slapstick comedy.[4][5]

Raimi has also produced several successful television series, including Hercules: The Legendary Journeys and its spin-off Xena: Warrior Princess. He founded the production company Renaissance Pictures in 1979 and Ghost House Pictures in 2002. His next film, the Marvel Cinematic Universe film Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, is scheduled for a release on May 6, 2022.[6]

Early life

Raimi was born in Royal Oak, Michigan,[2] to a Conservative Jewish family.[7] He is a son of merchants Celia Barbara (née Abrams) and Leonard Ronald Raimi.[3] His ancestors were Jewish immigrants from Russia and Hungary.[8] He is an elder brother of actor Ted Raimi,[9] and a younger brother of screenwriter and physician Ivan Raimi.[8] His sister is Andrea Raimi Rubin.[10] Another older brother, Sander, died at 15 in an accidental drowning; Raimi has said that the trauma knitted the remaining family closer together and "colour[ed] everything [he's done] for the rest of [his] life."[11]

Raimi graduated from Groves High School[12] and later went on to attend Michigan State University,[13] where he studied English but left after three semesters to film The Evil Dead.

Career

Film

Raimi became fascinated with making films when his father brought a movie camera home one day. He began to make Super 8 movies with his friend Bruce Campbell, whom he met in 1975. In college, he teamed up with his brother's roommate Robert Tapert and Campbell to shoot Within the Woods (1978), a 32-minute horror film which raised $375,000, as well as his debut feature film It's Murder!. During that time, he also shot the seven-minute short film Clockwork (1978), starring Scott Spiegel, who had appeared in Within the Woods, and Cheryl Guttridge.[14][15] Through family, friends, and a network of investors, Raimi was able to finance production of the highly successful horror film The Evil Dead (1981) which became a cult hit and effectively launched Raimi's career.

He began work on his third film Crimewave (1985), which he co-wrote with the then unknown Coen brothers, shortly after.[16] Intended as a live-action comic book, the film was unsuccessful, partly due to unwanted studio intervention. Raimi then returned to the horror genre with the seminal Evil Dead II (which added slapstick humor to the over the top horror, showcasing his love of the Three Stooges). With his brother Ivan Raimi (and crediting himself as Celia Abrams), Sam Raimi also wrote Easy Wheels (1989), which parodied the Outlaw biker film genre. A long-time comic book buff, he then attempted to adapt "The Shadow" into a movie, but was unable to secure the rights, so he created his own super-hero, Darkman (1990). The film was his first major studio picture, and was commercially successful, spawning two sequels. Through it he was still able to secure funding for Evil Dead III, which was retitled Army of Darkness and turned away almost totally from horror towards fantasy and comedy elements. Army of Darkness, the final movie in the Evil Dead trilogy, commercially underperformed, yet on video became a cult classic.

In the 1990s, Raimi moved into other genres, directing such films as the western The Quick and the Dead (starring Sharon Stone and Gene Hackman), the critically acclaimed crime thriller A Simple Plan (1998) (starring Bill Paxton and Billy Bob Thornton), and the romantic drama For Love of the Game (1999) (starring Kevin Costner).

Raimi achieved great critical and commercial success with the blockbuster Spider-Man (2002), which was adapted from the comic book series of the same name. The movie has grossed over US$800 million worldwide, spawning two sequels: Spider-Man 2 and Spider-Man 3, both directed by Raimi and each grossing approximately $800 million. After the completion of the third Spider-Man film, he planned on producing two more sequels (although Sony Pictures planned three sequels) but could not find a satisfactory script.[17]

Raimi frequently collaborates with Joel and Ethan Coen, beginning when Joel was one of the editors of Evil Dead. The Coens co-wrote Crimewave and The Hudsucker Proxy with Raimi in the mid-1980s (though Hudsucker was not produced for almost a decade). Raimi made cameo appearances in Miller's Crossing, The Hudsucker Proxy, and with Joel Coen in Spies Like Us. The Coen brothers gave Raimi advice on shooting in snow for A Simple Plan, based on their experiences with Fargo.[18]

He worked in front of the camera in The Stand as a dimwitted hitman, John Carpenter's Body Bags as a murdered gas station attendant, and Indian Summer in what is perhaps his biggest role as a bumbling assistant to Alan Arkin. The film was written by his childhood friend, writer-director Mike Binder, and shot at the camp that they both attended when they were younger. Raimi also produced the entire English-language The Grudge franchise, based on the original Japanese films.

According to Entertainment Weekly, Raimi had expressed an interest in directing a film version of The Hobbit, the prequel to the Lord of the Rings trilogy.[19] In 2008, Guillermo del Toro was selected as the director, with Peter Jackson as the executive producer. Raimi may direct By Any Means Necessary, the next film based on the "Jack Ryan" CIA character created by Tom Clancy for Paramount Pictures. Disney also approached him to direct W.I.T.C.H.: The Movie, based on the popular comic.

Blizzard Entertainment announced on July 22, 2009 that Sam Raimi will be directing a Warcraft film.[20] However at Comic-Con International 2012, it was revealed that he would not be the one directing the World of Warcraft adaptation.[21]

On September 23, 2009, he became the producer for the British supernatural thriller Refuge, which is directed by Corin Hardy and published by Mandate Pictures.[22] He will produce the remake of the Danish thriller The Substitute, which will be directed by Scott Derrickson under his new label Spooky Pictures.[23] Raimi produced with his company Ghost House Pictures the British thriller flick Burst 3D, directed by Neil Marshall.[24]

Raimi directed Oz the Great and Powerful, which was released on March 8, 2013 by Walt Disney Pictures and grossed $493 million worldwide.[25][26] He said he would not be directing the planned sequel.[27][28]

On December 11, 2006, the website SuperHero Hype reported that director Sam Raimi and Michael Uslan would co-produce a new film version of The Shadow for Columbia Pictures.[29] On October 16, 2007, Raimi stated that: "I don't have any news on 'The Shadow' at this time, except that the company that I have with Josh Donen, my producing partner, we've got the rights to 'The Shadow.' I love the character very much and we're trying to work on a story that'll do justice to the character."[30][31]

Raimi, along with Bruce Campbell and Rob Tapert, produced the remake of Raimi's The Evil Dead. First-time feature filmmaker Fede Álvarez wrote and directed, and Diablo Cody was also brought in to revise/rewrite the script.[32] Raimi confirmed plans to write Evil Dead 4 with his brother; it was later specified that this film would be Army of Darkness 2.[33] Alvarez revealed that Raimi would direct the sequel to Army of Darkness.[34] However, in a 2014 interview, Bruce Campbell announced that Army of Darkness 2 is not happening, saying "It's all internet b.s. There's no reality whatsoever. These random comments slip out of either my mouth, or Sam Raimi's mouth, next thing you know, we're making a sequel."[35]

On February 26, 2016, it was confirmed that Raimi is attached to direct the upcoming film World War 3 for Warner Bros. The film will be based on a possible future inspired by the book The Next 100 Years by George Friedman.[36]

On February 16, 2017, it was reported that Raimi will be directing a thriller about the Bermuda Triangle for Skydance Media, with the script being written by Doug Miro and Carlo Bernard.[37]

By January 29, 2018, Raimi was set to direct the first in the movie adaptations of Patrick Rothfuss's Kingkiller Chronicle series, The Name of the Wind, with Rothfuss and Lin-Manuel Miranda serving as executive producers.[38]

On February 5, 2020, it was announced that Raimi was in talks with Marvel Studios to direct Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness,[39] and Raimi confirmed his involvement in April 2020.[40] This marks Raimi's return to the superhero film genre after more than 13 years following Spider-Man 3 in 2007 and his first directorial effort since 2013's Oz the Great and Powerful.[41]

Television

In addition to film, Raimi has worked in television, producing such series as Hercules: The Legendary Journeys and its spin-off Xena: Warrior Princess, both featuring his younger brother Ted Raimi and long-time friend Bruce Campbell, American Gothic, Cleopatra 2525, M.A.N.T.I.S., 13: Fear Is Real, Young Hercules, and Jack of All Trades. In 2008, Raimi executive produced a syndicated TV series called Legend of the Seeker, based on Terry Goodkind's best-selling The Sword of Truth fantasy series. He also executive produced the Starz original television series Spartacus: Blood and Sand and Spartacus: Gods of the Arena,[42] Spartacus: Vengeance and Spartacus: War of the Damned. He directed the pilot episode of Ash vs Evil Dead for Starz.[43]

Personal life

Raimi has been married since 1993 to Gillian Greene, daughter of actor Lorne Greene. They have five children, three of whom (daughter Emma Rose and sons Lorne and Henry) appeared as extras in Drag Me to Hell, and in Spider-Man 3 during the movie's final battle.[44]

Filmography

Film

Year Title Director Writer Producer Notes
1977 It's Murder! Yes Yes Yes Also editor and sound mixer (uncredited)
1981 The Evil Dead Yes Yes Executive Also special effects (uncredited)
1985 Crimewave Yes Yes No Written with the Coen brothers
1987 Evil Dead II Yes Yes No
1989 Easy Wheels No Yes No Credited as "Celia Abrams"
1990 Darkman Yes Yes Executive
1992 The Nutt House No Yes No Credited as "Alan Smithee Jr."
Army of Darkness Yes Yes No Also editor (credited as "R.O.C. Sandstorm")
1994 The Hudsucker Proxy No Yes No
1995 The Quick and the Dead Yes No No
1998 A Simple Plan Yes No No
1999 For Love of the Game Yes No No
2000 The Gift Yes No No
2002 Spider-Man Yes No No Also special effects (uncredited)
2004 Spider-Man 2 Yes No No
2005 Man with the Screaming Brain No Story No Credited as "R.O.C. Sandstorm"
2007 Spider-Man 3 Yes Yes No
2009 Drag Me to Hell Yes Yes Yes
2013 Oz the Great and Powerful Yes No No
2022 Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness Yes No No Post-production

Producer only

Year Title Director Notes
1994 Timecop Peter Hyams
1995 Darkman II: The Return of Durant Bradford May Direct-to-video
1996 Darkman III: Die Darkman Die
1998 Hercules and Xena – The Animated Movie:
The Battle for Mount Olympus
Lynne Naylor
Young Hercules T.J. Scott
2002 Xena: Warrior Princess – A Friend in Need Robert G. Tapert
2004 The Grudge Takashi Shimizu
2005 Boogeyman Stephen T. Kay
2006 The Grudge 2 Takashi Shimizu
2007 The Messengers The Pang Brothers
30 Days of Night David Slade
2012 The Possession Ole Bornedal
2013 Evil Dead Fede Álvarez
2014 Murder of a Cat Gillian Greene
2015 Poltergeist Gil Kenan
2016 Don't Breathe Fede Álvarez
2019 Crawl Alexandre Aja
2020 The Grudge Nicolas Pesce
2021 The Unholy Evan Spiliotopoulos
Don't Breathe 2 Rodo Sayagues
Nightbooks David Yarovesky
2022 65 Scott Beck
Bryan Woods
TBA Umma Iris K. Shim

Executive producer only

Year Title Director Notes
1989 The Dead Next Door J.R. Bookwalter
1991 Lunatics: A Love Story Josh Becker
1993 Hard Target John Woo
2007 Rise: Blood Hunter Sebastian Gutierrez
2022 Evil Dead Rise Lee Cronin

Short films

Year Title Director Writer Producer Notes
1972 Out West Yes Yes No Also cinematographer
1975 The Great Bogus Monkey Pignuts Swindle Yes No No
1976 Uncivil War Birds Yes No No
The James R. Hoffa Story, Part II Yes No No
Mystery No Mystery Yes No No
Attack of the Pillsbury Doughboy Yes No No
1977 The Happy Valley Kid Yes No No
Six Months to Live Yes No No
Picnic Yes No No
Civil War Part II Yes No No
1978 Within the Woods Yes Yes executive Also editor
Clockwork Yes Yes Yes
1979 William Shakespeare: The Movie Yes No No
1985 The Sappy Sap Yes No No
2017 The Black Ghiandola Yes No No

Television

Year Title Director Writer Executive
Producer
Creator Notes
1994–1997 M.A.N.T.I.S. No Story Yes Yes Wrote story and directed "Pilot"
1995–2001 Xena: Warrior Princess No No Yes Developer
1997 Spy Game No No Yes Yes
2008–2010 Legend of the Seeker No No Yes Yes
2014 Rake Yes No Yes No 2 episodes
2015–2018 Ash vs Evil Dead Yes Yes Yes Developer Wrote and directed episode: "El Jefe"
2020 50 States of Fright Yes Yes Yes No 3 episodes

Executive producer only

Year Title Notes
1994 Hercules and the Lost Kingdom TV movie
Hercules and the Circle of Fire
Hercules in the Underworld
Hercules in the Maze of the Minotaur
1995–1996 American Gothic
1995–1999 Hercules: The Legendary Journeys
1998–1999 Young Hercules
2000 Jack of All Trades
2000–2001 Cleopatra 2525
2009 13: Fear Is Real
2010 Zombie Roadkill
2011 Spartacus: Gods of the Arena
2013 Spartacus: War of the Damned

Acting roles

Year Title Role Notes
1977 It's Murder! Uncle Jasper
1978 Attack of the Helping Hand Milk Man Short film
Shemp Eats the Moon Angelo the Knife Short film
1981 The Evil Dead Hitchhiker Uncredited
1982 Cleveland Smith: Bounty Hunter Nazi Short film
1983 Hefty's Cook No. 2
1985 Spies Like Us Drive-in guard No. 2
1987 Evil Dead 2 Knight hailing Ash Uncredited
Thou Shalt Not Kill... Except Cult leader
1988 Maniac Cop News Reporter
1989 Intruder Randy
1990 Miller's Crossing Snickering Gunman
Maniac Cop 2 Newscaster
1992 Innocent Blood Roma Meats Man
Army of Darkness Knight in Sweatshirt and Sneakers Uncredited
1993 Indian Summer Stick Coder
Body Bags Dead Bill Segment: "The Gas Station"
Journey to the Center of the Earth Collins TV Movie
1994 The Hudsucker Proxy Hudsucker Brainstormer
The Flintstones Cliff Vandercave Look-A-Like
The Stand Bobby Terry TV miniseries
1995 Galaxis Nervous Official
1997 The Shining Gas Station Howie TV miniseries
2002 Spider-Man Popcorn Throwing Wrestling Fan Offscreen
2009 Drag Me to Hell Ghost at Seance Uncredited
2013 3 Geezers! Sam
2016 The Jungle Book Giant Squirrel Voice role

Awards

See also

References

  1. ^ Luke Savage (March 7, 2013). "Sam Raimi interview: Oz, Warcraft, The Shadow, Spider-Man". Den of Geek. Dennis Publishing. Retrieved January 1, 2019. ...IMDB. They’ve added a name to me, they’ve called me Samuel Marshall Raimi, and I never knew I had a middle name. I have a middle initial, 'M'.
  2. ^ a b "Sam Raimi: Director, Producer, Screenwriter". Turner Classic Movies. Archived from the original on October 30, 2020. Retrieved November 23, 2020. Birth Place: Royal Oak, Michigan, USA. Born: October 23, 1959
  3. ^ a b "Sam Raimi Biography (1959-)". Filmreference.com. Retrieved March 19, 2012. Source notes Raimi born "in Royal Oak (some sources cite Franklin), MI."
  4. ^ Perno, G. S. (June 17, 2020). "Directors' Trademarks: Sam Raimi". Cinelinx | Movies. Games. Geek Culture. Retrieved November 30, 2021.
  5. ^ Gibron, Bill (October 4, 2006). "Depth of Field: Sam Raimi – Horror's Stylistic Savior, PopMatters". PopMatters. Retrieved November 30, 2021.
  6. ^ "'Doctor Strange' sequel confirms cast, will tie into 'Spider-Man 3'". EW.com. Retrieved February 2, 2021.
  7. ^ Pfefferman, Naomi (August 22, 2012). "Sam Raimi's latest horror flick draws on 'true' tale, Jewish exorcism". Jewish Journal. Archived from the original on November 23, 2020. Retrieved March 14, 2013. Raimi — who grew up in a Conservative Jewish home in Detroit....
  8. ^ a b Aushenker, Michael (April 25, 2002). "Spider-Mensch: The Jewish roots of director Sam Raimi and 'Spider-Man'". Jewish Journal. Archived from the original on December 8, 2012. Retrieved March 19, 2012. He was raised by parents of Russian and Hungarian Jewish descent in a Conservative Jewish home that included older brother Ivan, now a screenwriter and physician; younger brother Ted, an actor, and older sister, Andrea.
  9. ^ "Ted Raimi Biography (1965-)". Filmreference.com. Retrieved March 19, 2012.
  10. ^ Headapohl, Jackie (March 7, 2013). "Made In Michigan". The Jewish News. Detroit, Michigan. Archived from the original on November 1, 2019.
  11. ^ "Sam Raimi: Man behind the mask". The Independent. UK. July 15, 2004. Archived from the original on August 6, 2017. Retrieved November 23, 2020. Led by their father, who ran a furniture store, and mother, who owned a lingerie shop, the family became very close after Raimi's elder brother Sander drowned in a swimming pool at the age of 15. Raimi has said of that trauma: 'It colours everything you do for the rest of your life.'
  12. ^ Houser, Laura (February 16, 2013). "Macomb Co. Native Helps Organize Charity Premiere of 'Oz: The Great and Powerful'". Utica.Patch.com. Archived from the original on March 17, 2013. Retrieved February 17, 2013.
  13. ^ Bao, Robert (April 1, 1999). "Feature: Spartans in Hollywood". Michigan State University. Archived from the original on November 12, 2020.
  14. ^ Riekki, Ron; Sartain, Jeffrey A. (March 4, 2019). The Many Lives of The Evil Dead: Essays on the Cult Film Franchise. McFarland. ISBN 9781476636047.
  15. ^ Muir, John Kenneth (2004). The Unseen Force: The Films of Sam Raimi. Applause Theatre & Cinema Books. ISBN 9781557836076. clockwork.
  16. ^ Campbell, Bruce (2002). If Chins Could Kill: Confessions of a B Movie Actor. L.A. Weekly Books. p. 161. ISBN 978-0-312-29145-7.
  17. ^ Finke, Nikki; Fleming, Mike (January 11, 2010). "'Spider-Man 4' Scrapped; Sam Rami & Tobey Maguire & Cast Out; Franchise Reboot for 2012". Deadline Hollywood. Archived from the original on August 4, 2011. Retrieved November 3, 2021.
  18. ^ Sigur, Matt. "'A Simple Plan' isn't your typical Sam Raimi movie, and that's why it's his best". rogerebert.com.
  19. ^ Markovitz, Adam (April 18, 2007). "'Hobbit' Forming?". Entertainment Weekly.
  20. ^ "Blizzard Press Release 7-22-2009". Blizzard. July 21, 2009. Archived from the original on July 23, 2009. Retrieved July 22, 2009.
  21. ^ Topel, Fred. "Comic Con 2012 Exclusive: Sam Raimi Won't Direct the World of Warcraft Movie". Crave Online. Archived from the original on April 3, 2015. Retrieved July 17, 2012.
  22. ^ "Mandate Signs Sam Raimi to Oversee Refuge".
  23. ^ "Raimi shall Launche Spooky Pictures with 'The Substitute'".
  24. ^ "Neil Marshall Throwing the Gore Onscreen With 'Burst 3D'".
  25. ^ Dargis, Manohla (March 7, 2013). "'Oz the Great and Powerful,' Starring James Franco" – via NYTimes.com.
  26. ^ Oldham, Stuart (June 14, 2010). "Sam Raimi circles 'Wizard of Oz' prequel: helmer in talks for Disney's 'Powerful' pic". Variety.
  27. ^ "Chatter: Who Should Replace Sam Raimi as Director of the Oz Sequel?". Fandango.com. March 11, 2013.
  28. ^ "Cast Signed for 'Oz: The Great & Powerful' Sequel But Not Sam Raimi". firstshowing.net. March 11, 2013.
  29. ^ "Exclusive: Sam Raimi's Pulp Fiction". IGN. June 14, 2012. Retrieved July 28, 2021.
  30. ^ "Columbia & Raimi Team on The Shadow". SuperHeroHype.
  31. ^ Rotten, Ryan (October 16, 2007). "Sam Raimi on Spider-Man 4 and The Shadow". Superherohype.com. Coming Soon Media, ltd. Retrieved July 28, 2019.
  32. ^ "Official Press Release: The Evil Dead Remake". Shock Till You Drop. July 13, 2011. Archived from the original on November 23, 2011. Retrieved March 19, 2012.
  33. ^ "Sam Raimi's Next Project is Army of Darkness 2′' Not Evil Dead 4". Screenrant.com. Retrieved March 17, 2013.
  34. ^ Alvarez, Fede (October 26, 2013). ""@thielebenjamin: Hey @fedalvar will you be directing the Army Of Darkness 2 movie?" Sam Raimi will!". Twitter.com.
  35. ^ "Bruce Campbell Wants to Set the Record Straight About Army of Darkness 2, And He Feels Bad for You". Shock Till You Drop. November 5, 2014.
  36. ^ "Sam Raimi to Predict a Terrible Future in 'World War 3' for Warner Bros". Retrieved November 19, 2017.
  37. ^ "Sam Raimi Ventures Into the Bermuda Triangle". February 16, 2017. Retrieved November 19, 2017.
  38. ^ Kroll, Justin (January 29, 2018). "Sam Raimi to Direct 'Kingkiller Chronicle' for Lionsgate and Lin-Manuel Miranda (Exclusive)". Variety. Retrieved December 7, 2018.
  39. ^ B. Vary, Adam; Kroll, Justin (February 5, 2020). "Sam Raimi in Talks to Direct 'Doctor Strange 2' (EXCLUSIVE)". Variety. Retrieved February 5, 2020.
  40. ^ Evangelista, Chris (April 15, 2020). "Sam Raimi Confirms He's Directing 'Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness'". /Film. Archived from the original on April 15, 2020. Retrieved April 15, 2020.
  41. ^ Lawrence, Gregory (September 30, 2021). "Sam Raimi Gets Candid on Why He'd Make 'Doctor Strange 2' After "Awful" Reaction to 'Spider-Man 3'". Collider. Retrieved November 3, 2021.
  42. ^ ""Spartacus: Blood and Sand" cast and crew". Retrieved January 30, 2010.
  43. ^ "Sam Raimi Directing "Ash vs Evil Dead" Pilot". Retrieved January 30, 2010.
  44. ^ "Sam Raimi Returns to Horror Film Roots With 'Drag Me to Hell'". ABC News. Retrieved February 6, 2020.
  45. ^ Inkpot Award