Lee Tamahori

Lee Tamahori (/ˌtæməˈhɔːri/; born 17 June 1950) is a New Zealand filmmaker best known for directing the 1994 film Once Were Warriors, 2001 film Along Came a Spider and 2002 James Bond film Die Another Day.

Upbringing and early career

Born Warren Lee Tamahori,[1] in Wellington, New Zealand, he is of Māori ancestry on his father's side and British on his mother's.

Tamahori grew up in Tawa, a northern suburb of Wellington, North Island, New Zealand. Educated at Tawa School and Tawa College,[2] he began his career as a commercial artist and photographer. He moved into the film industry in the late 1970s, initially getting in the door by working for nothing, then working as a boom operator for Television New Zealand, and on the feature films: Skin Deep, Goodbye Pork Pie, and Bad Blood.

In the early 1980s Pork Pie director Geoff Murphy promoted Tamahori to become an assistant director on Utu, and he subsequently worked as first assistant director on The Silent One, Murphy's The Quiet Earth, Came a Hot Friday and Merry Christmas, Mr Lawrence. In 1986 Tamahori co-founded production company Flying Fish, which specialised in making commercials. Tamahori made his name with a series of high-profile television commercials, including one awarded 'Commercial of the Decade'.[1]

Feature films

Tamahori had directed a number of shorter dramas for television before he made his feature film debut in 1994 with Once Were Warriors, a gritty depiction of a violent Māori family. The film had had problems finding funding, but it went on to break box office records in New Zealand. Overseas it sold to many countries and won rave reviews from Time magazine, Village Voice, and The Melbourne Age, with Time and The Age naming it one of the ten best films of the year.

Tamahori moved to Hollywood and directed the period thriller Mulholland Falls (1996), although this was not received well critically or commercially. This was followed by the successful wilderness film The Edge (1997), which starred Anthony Hopkins and Die Another Day (2002), the twentieth and most successful James Bond film made up until that point. He also directed an episode of The Sopranos.

Tamahori's next film was the sequel to XXX (2002), titled XXX: State of the Union (2005), starring Ice Cube and Willem Dafoe; he replaced the original film's director, Rob Cohen.

In 2007 he directed Next, a science fiction action film based on The Golden Man, a short story by Philip K. Dick. The film starred Nicolas Cage, Julianne Moore, and Jessica Biel.

His other films include thriller Along Came a Spider and drama The Devil's Double starring Dominic Cooper, a dramatisation of Latif Yahia's claims that he was forced to become body double to Uday Hussein, son of Saddam.[3][4]

In 2015 Tamahori directed Mahana, his first feature made in New Zealand since Once Were Warriors. The rural-set drama was based on the novel Bulibasha by Witi Ihimaera, and starred Warriors actor Temuera Morrison. The movie was released in New Zealand in March 2016, after debuting at the Berlin Film Festival.[5]

Personal life

On 8 January 2006, Tamahori, dressed as a woman, was arrested in Los Angeles for allegedly offering an undercover police officer oral sex.[6] He was convicted only of criminal trespass, having pleaded no contest in exchange for other charges being dropped.[7]



  1. ^ a b "Meet the real Lee Tamahori – locals speak up for shamed director". Bond News. mi6-xxx.com. 12 March 2006. Retrieved 25 September 2010.
  2. ^ Dutta, Kunal (7 August 2011). "Lee Tamahori: The director who has sympathy with the devil". The Independent. Retrieved 8 November 2012.
  3. ^ "Exclusive Pic From The Devil's Double". Empireonline. Retrieved 25 September 2010.
  4. ^ "The Devil's Double". IMDb. Amazon. 7 April 2010.
  5. ^ "Mahana – the NZ Story That Brought Lee Tamahori Home". Scoop. 27 October 2015.
  6. ^ Munn, Eric (5 February 2006). "Tamahori's double life". Sydney Morning Herald. Fairfax. Retrieved 13 December 2007.
  7. ^ "007 director makes sex case deal". BBC. UK. 24 February 2006. Retrieved 13 December 2007.

External links

Alex Cross (film series)

The Alex Cross film series is an American series of thriller films, based on the fictional character of Alex Cross, who originally appeared in a series of novels by James Patterson. In the series of three films, two actors have portrayed Cross.

Along Came a Spider (film)

Along Came a Spider is a 2001 American neo noir psychological thriller film directed by Lee Tamahori. It is the second installment of the Alex Cross film series and a sequel to the 1997 film Kiss the Girls, with Morgan Freeman reprising his role as detective Alex Cross. The screenplay by Marc Moss was adapted from the 1993 novel of the same title by James Patterson, but many of the key plot elements of the book were controversially eliminated. The movie received negative to mixed critical reviews, although it became a box office success.

Christian Wagner

Christian Wagner is an American film editor who has edited films such as Face/Off (1996) and Mission: Impossible 2 (2000). He is also best known collaborating numerous times with film director Tony Scott, from the films True Romance (1993) to Domino (2005).

David Tattersall

David Tattersall, BSC ASC (born 14 November 1960) is a British cinematographer. He has worked on many big-budget films and was nominated for an Emmy Award for his cinematography on The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles television series. Two of his most noted collaborations include having worked with film directors George Lucas and Frank Darabont.

Die Another Day

Die Another Day is a 2002 spy film, the twentieth film in the James Bond series produced by Eon Productions, as well as the fourth and final film to star Pierce Brosnan as the fictional MI6 agent James Bond. The film follows Bond as he leads a mission to North Korea, during which he is betrayed and, after seemingly killing a rogue North Korean colonel, is captured and imprisoned. Fourteen months later, Bond is released as part of a prisoner exchange. Surmising that the mole is within the British government, he attempts to earn redemption by tracking down his betrayer and all those involved.

The film, produced by Michael G. Wilson and Barbara Broccoli, and directed by Lee Tamahori, marked the James Bond franchise's 40th anniversary. The series began in 1962 with Sean Connery starring as Bond in Dr. No. Die Another Day includes references to each of the preceding films.The film received mixed reviews. Some critics praised the work of Tamahori, while others criticised the film's heavy use of computer-generated imagery, which they found unconvincing and a distraction from the film's plot. Nevertheless, Die Another Day was the highest-grossing James Bond film up to that time if inflation is not taken into account.

Double Brown

Double Brown is a naturally fermented bitter beer. It is produced by DB Breweries in New Zealand, containing 4% alcohol by volume. It is considered an affordable beer since it is priced below mainstream brands owned by the company such as Tui, Export Gold and DB Draught. Double Brown is produced in DB's main brewery in Auckland. It is not marketed as heavily as the main brands, due to costs. It is colloquially referred to as DoBro in New Zealand.

In 2004 Double Brown won the prestigious BrewNZ New Zealand Draft Beer of the Year Award In 2009 DB Breweries controversially reduced the iconic "20 box" to 18 cans whilst holding the price constant.

New Zealand band Missing Teeth recorded a song named "Double Brown" as an homage to the brew. Double Brown is featured in the Lee Tamahori film Once Were Warriors, where bottles can be seen throughout the film.

It can also be seen in the 2012 film Two Little Boys.

List of New Zealand film directors

The following is a list of New Zealand film directors and producers.

Andrew Adamson

Barry Barclay - produced the first feature made by an indigenous person anywhere in the world.

Martin Campbell

Jane Campion

Niki Caro

Roger Donaldson (born in Australia)

Cameron Duncan

Toa Fraser

Alex Galvin

Ben Hawker

Rudall Hayward - pioneer filmmaker

Sir Peter Jackson

Christine Jeffs

Paul Maunder

Brad McGann

Danny Mulheron

Geoff Murphy

Andrew Niccol - film director, screenwriter

John O'Shea

Gaylene Preston

Christian Rivers

James Napier Robertson

Robert Sarkies

Jason Stutter

Lee Tamahori

Taika Waititi (Taika Cohen)

Vincent Ward

Peter Wells - author and film director

Mahana (film)

Mahana is a 2016 New Zealand drama film written and directed by Lee Tamahori based on the novel Bulibasha: King of the Gypsies by Witi Ihimaera. It was released as The Patriarch outside New Zealand.

Mulholland Falls

Mulholland Falls is a 1996 American neo-noir crime thriller film directed by Lee Tamahori, written by Pete Dexter, and starring an ensemble cast featuring Nick Nolte, Jennifer Connelly, Chazz Palminteri, Michael Madsen, Chris Penn, Melanie Griffith, Andrew McCarthy, Treat Williams, and John Malkovich.

Nolte plays the head of an elite group of four Los Angeles Police Department detectives (based on the real life "Hat Squad") who are known for stopping at nothing to maintain control of their jurisdiction. Their work has the tacit approval of L.A.'s police chief (Bruce Dern). A similar theme is the basis of a 2013 film, Gangster Squad, which Nolte also appeared in, and a 2013 television miniseries, Mob City.

Mulholland Falls (soundtrack)

Mulholland Falls: Original MGM Motion Picture Soundtrack is an album by American pianist Dave Grusin released in 1996 by the Edel America label. This album is the soundtrack to the motion picture Mulholland Falls, directed by Lee Tamahori.

Next (2007 film)

Next is a 2007 American science fiction action thriller film directed by Lee Tamahori and starring Nicolas Cage, Julianne Moore, Jessica Biel, Thomas Kretschmann, Tory Kittles, and Peter Falk. The film's original script was loosely based on the science fiction short story "The Golden Man" by Philip K. Dick. The film tells the story of Cris Johnson, a small-time magician based in Las Vegas, who has limited precognition; his ability allows him to see into the very immediate future. His gift makes him a target not only of a highly motivated and heavily armed group of terrorists, but also wanted by the FBI to help them fight those same terrorists.

The film was released on April 25, 2007, in Belgium and France, and on April 27, 2007, in the United States by Paramount Pictures. With a production budget of $70 million, the film grossed $76 million worldwide, making it a box office flop.

Once Were Warriors

Once Were Warriors is New Zealand author Alan Duff's bestselling first novel, published in 1990. It tells the story of an urban Māori family, the Hekes, and portrays the reality of domestic violence in New Zealand. It was the basis of a 1994 film of the same title, directed by Lee Tamahori and starring Rena Owen and Temuera Morrison, which made its U.S. premiere at the Hawaii International Film Festival. The novel was followed by two sequels, What Becomes of the Broken Hearted? (1996) and Jake's Long Shadow (2002).

Once Were Warriors (film)

Once Were Warriors is a 1994 New Zealand drama film based on New Zealand author Alan Duff's bestselling 1990 first novel. The film tells the story of the Hekes, an urban Māori family, and their problems with poverty, alcoholism, and domestic violence, mostly brought on by the patriarch Jake. The film was directed by Lee Tamahori and stars Rena Owen, Temuera Morrison and Cliff Curtis.

Sensitive to a Smile (album)

Sensitive to a Smile is a 1987 album by New Zealand reggae band Herbs. It reached number 10 and spent 30 weeks in the New Zealand album chart and was awarded Album of the Year at the 1987 New Zealand Music Awards. The album included the four singles "Sensitive to a Smile", "Rust In Dust", "Listen" and "No Nukes (The Second Letter)", all of which charted. Sensitive to a Smile was re-released digitally in 2012 with extra tracks from Herbs' 1984 album Long Ago and their 1982 single "French Letter (A Letter To France)".The album was launched at Mangahanea marae in Ruatoria, as a gesture of unity to Ruatoria after it had seen conflict between local Rastafarian groups and the community, as well as arson attacks. The launch concert was filmed by director Lee Tamahori and became the basis of the music video for the first single "Sensitive to a Smile".

The Devil's Double

The Devil's Double is a 2011 Belgian-Dutch film directed by Lee Tamahori, written by Michael Thomas, and starring Dominic Cooper in the dual role of Uday Hussein and Latif Yahia. It was released on 22 January 2011 at the 2011 Sundance Film Festival and was released in limited theaters on 29 July 2011 by Lionsgate and Herrick Entertainment.

The Edge (1997 film)

The Edge is a 1997 American survival film directed by Lee Tamahori and starring Anthony Hopkins and Alec Baldwin. Bart the Bear, a trained Kodiak bear known for appearances in several Hollywood movies, also appears in the film as a vicious Kodiak; this was one of his last film roles.


"Toodle-Fucking-Oo" is the sixteenth episode of the HBO original series The Sopranos and the third of the show's second season. It was written by Frank Renzulli, directed by Lee Tamahori and originally aired on January 30, 2000.

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