Date of Birth: January 2, 1961
Born in Los Angeles, Todd Haynes received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Arts and Semiotics from Brown University in 1981. He then moved to New York, where he founded Apparatus Productions, a non-profit organization to support independent films. He wrote the screenplay for his directorial debut, a short called Assassins: A Film Concerning Rimbaud (1985).
His next film was another short called Superstar: The Karen Carpenter Story (1987), that used Barbie and Ken dolls to portray the brother and sister pop team, Karen and Richard Carpenter. The movie was a success at several film festivals, but not surprisingly, Richard Carpenter obtained a court order that has kept the movie out of circulation.
Haynes wrote and directed his first feature, a horror film called Poison (1991), based on the writings of Jean Genet. Despite being called pornographic by critics, the film won the Grand Jury prize at the Sundance Film Festival. He made the move to television with the TV movie Dottie Gets Spanked (1993), in which a young boy awakens sexually when he develops an obsession with a sitcom star.
Next up for Haynes was Safe (1995), a film that dealt with environmental sickness and how it affects one woman as she suffers a breakdown from a mysterious virus. This marked a milestone in Haynes' career, as it was his first film to attract a star, with Julianne Moore in the lead role.
In Far From Heaven (2002), Haynes once again was able to secure Moore to star, along with Dennis Quaid. The film revolves around a housewife who discovers her husband is gay.
It would be another five years until Haynes' next directorial project, I'm Not There (2007). He would follow that up with Mildred Pierce (2012) and Carol (2015). His film Wonderstruck (2017), starring Oakes Fegley, Julianne Moore and Michelle Williams, was written by Brian Selznik, based on his own book, which highlights the connection between a young Midwestern boy and a New York girl separated by 50 years in time.
Haynes' most recent film, the drama Dark Waters (2019), stars Mark Ruffalo and Anne Hathaway.
Dark Waters (2019)
Mildred Pierce (2012)
I'm Not There (2007)
Far From Heaven (2002)
Velvet Goldmine (1998)