Date of Birth: 1958
Born and raised in West London, Softley took an early interest in painting, photography and music. He went on to study English literature at Cambridge University, where he began directing local theater productions. After graduating in 1979, Softley spent the next six years as a filmmaker for Granada Television and the BBC, directing a variety of documentaries about the arts, music and popular culture. He left the BBC in 1986 to concentrate on writing, but continued as an independent music video and television director, winning a Gold Hugo Award at the 1991 Chicago Film Festival.
Softley made a memorable feature debut when he wrote and directed Backbeat (1994), an account of the Beatles' early years in Germany that earned him a BAFTA nomination, a Best Film Award at the Cleveland International Film Festival and British Newcomer of the Year from the London Critics Circle Film Awards.
That was followed by Hackers (1995), an American thriller about a group of young computer hackers, starring Jonny Lee Miller and Angelina Jolie. Next, Softley showed his ability to bring the written word to life with The Wings of the Dove (1997), an adaptation of the Henry James novel starring Helena Bonham Carter. It became one of the year's most critically acclaimed films, earning four Academy Award nominations.
He returned to the States to direct K-PAX (2001) starring Kevin Spacey and Jeff Bridges, then directed Kate Hudson and Gena Rowlands in The Skeleton Key (2005).
Softley is married to film producer Sarah Curtis.