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Zack Snyder is an American director known for comic book movies 300 and Watchmen. His shear theatricality and spectacle has made him over 50 million on his first four movies. One of his trademarks is the use of slow motion in fight scenes.
Zack Snyder was born in Green Bay, Wisconsin on March 1, 1966. His mother was a painter, and his father was a business recruiter in Greenwich, Connecticut. Snyder took a gap year to study painting at Heatherley School of Fine Art in England and then attended Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, CA where Michael Bay was a classmate.
After college, Snyder was a cinematographer and director for many commercials. He won a Gold Lion and Bronze Clio award for his Jeep commercial and also was nominated for Clio advertising awards for directing commercials for Audi (1997), Sega of America (1995), and Miller Lite (2008).
Snyder's first feature film was 2004's Dawn of Dead, a remake of George A. Romero's classic zombie film. He shot the film in Thornhill, Ontario, Canada and at Universal Studios. Dawn of the Dead was a critical hit and thought by Roger Ebert to be smart and faster than the original. It was the highest grossing zombie movie until 2009's Zombieland.
After Dawn of the Dead, Zack Snyder began to work solely with Warner Bros. His first film for the studio was 300, an adaptation of Frank Miller's limited series comic book. Along with Kurt Johnstad and Michael B. Gordon, Zack Snyder penned the screenplay and allowed Frank Miller to co-produce the film to make sure it was accurate to the comic. 300's portrayal of the Battle of Thermopylae was notable for Snyder's use of slow motion during the battle scenes. It earned over 400 million dollars and is Snyder's highest grossing project to date. At the 2008 Saturn Awards for fantasy and sci-fi, Snyder won Best Director and was nominated for Best Screenplay.
On the heels of his success with 300, Snyder was tabbed in 2006 to direct an adaptation of Watchmen, a graphic novel written by Alan Moore and placed on Time's Best Novels of the 20th Century. He kept the 1985 setting of the comic and added a special title sequence that showed the back history of some of the characters. Snyder wanted to adapt the comic and not have subtle political commentary on the state of the modern United States, like V for Vendetta, another movie based on a Moore comic. The film received mixed reviews from critics and grossed 185 million dollars but was seen as a faithful adaptation of the comic.
Snyder's next project was 2010's Legend of the Guardians: Owls of Gahoole, based on the children's book series Guardians of Ga' Hoole. It was his first animated film and first film in 3D. Owls of Gahoole was also Snyder's first film not rated 'R' but still includes the slow motion hosts during the battle between the Guardians and Pure Ones. The movie received mixed reviews from critics but was praised for its visuals and grossed over 139 million dollars.
Sucker Punch is a film written, produced, and directed by Snyder and is slated for a 2011 release. Snyder began work on the screenplay in 2007 but quit to concentrate on Watchmen. It's an action/thriller/fantasy movie about a girl in the 1950s who tries to escape a sanitarium through her dream world. In October 2010, he was given the director's job for Superman: Man of Steel, a reboot of the DC comics franchise. He also working on writing the screenplay for a prequel to 300 called Xerxes based on a future graphic novel by Frank Miller. This movie will tell the story of Darius' father Xerxes and his war with the Greeks.