About Fred Schepisi

Golden Globe winning director Fred Schepisi is best known for Six Degrees of Separation, Roxanne, Plenty, Last Orders, Empire Falls and more recently The Eye of the Storm and Words and Pictures.

Fred Schepisi – photograph by Brett Goldsmith

Fred began in advertising in Melbourne, Australia, working in an ad agency before joining the film production house, Cinesound. Two years later he founded the Film House directing both tv commercials and PR documentaries. His first foray into feature film making was The Priest, one chapter of the portmanteau film, Libido (1974). His first feature length film was The Devil’s Playground (1975), which won 6 AFI awards and established Fred’s reputation as a talented producer, director, writer. The success of his second film The Chant of Jimmie Blacksmith (1977), with Tommy Lewis, Freddie Reynolds, took Fred to the U.S. where he directed Barbarosa (1981), with Willie Nelson, Gary Busey, Iceman with Timothy Hutton, John Lone (1983), Plenty (1985) starring Meryl Streep, Charles Dance, Sir John Gielgud and Sam Neil, and Roxanne (1987) starring Steve Martin and Daryl Hannah.

Fred Schepisi directs Kirk Douglas and Michael Douglas

Fred returned to Australia to co-write and direct Evil Angels (aka A Cry in the Dark, 1988) from the novel by John Bryson, starring Meryl Streep and Sam Neil.

Other films Fred directed and produced are The Russia House (1990) starring Sean Connery and Michele Pfeiffer, Mr. Baseball (1992) with Ken Takakura, Tom Selleck, and Aya Takanashi, and Six Degrees of Separation (1993) starring Stockard Channing, Donald Sutherland and Will Smith. He then directed and co-produced IQ (1994) with Walter Matthau, Meg Ryan and Tim Robbins. Fred directed a reshoot and restructure of Fierce Creatures (1996) starring John Cleese, Kevin Kline, Jamie Lee Curtis. Then he wrote the screenplay, produced and directed Last Orders (2000), which starred Ray Winston, Michael Caine, Bob Hoskins. Soon after, he directed and co-produced It Runs in the Family (2002) with Kirk, Michael and Cameron Douglas, Bernadette Peters and Michele Monaghan.

Fred directed and co-produced Richard Russo’s Empire Falls (2004) featuring Paul Newman, Ed Harris, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Joanne Woodward, Robin Wright Penn and Helen Hunt for HBO. It was nominated for a number of awards and won the Golden Globe for Best Mini-Series or Motion Picture made for Television.

In 2009 he directed and co-produced The Eye of the Storm, based on the novel by acclaimed author Patrick White and starring Charlotte Rampling, Geoffrey Rush and Judy Davis. The film won the Special Jury Prize at Rome International Film Festival in November 2011.

Fred’s most recent project was 2013’s Words & Pictures, with Clive Owen and Juliette Binoche.

Since then he has been busy writing and developing a five part mini series, two original feature films, one a light comedy of a wedding on a train that goes crazily wrong, the other a satire of Bond 007 involving much mayhem and mistaken identities. He co-wrote, with Judy Morris, a romancedy set in China and Australia, and then co-wrote, with Morrie Rosamin, a whistle blower thriller/romance.

Fred is also mid development of The Olive Sisters, a romance across two time periods and Hitches, his original screenplay of a coming of age adventure.

Fred Schepisi was awarded the Order of Australia for his service to the Australian film industry as a director, producer and screenwriter and a mentor to up and coming filmmakers.