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Stephen Sommers
Born March 20, 1958 (1958-03-20)
Dayton, Ohio, U.S.
Occupation film director and screenwriter
Spouse(s) Jana Sommers (1993-present)

Stephen Sommers (born March 20, 1958) is an American screenwriter and film director, best known for The Mummy and its sequel, The Mummy Returns. He also directed the action/horror film Van Helsing and the 2009's summer blockbuster G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra.

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Early life

Stephen Sommers was born in Dayton, Ohio[1] and grew up in St. Cloud, Minnesota. He is a 1980 graduate of Saint John's University in Collegeville, Minnesota, and the University of Seville in Spain. After graduating, he spent four years performing as an actor in theater groups and managing rock bands throughout Europe. He eventually returned to the United States and moved to Los Angeles, where he attended the USC School of Cinematic Arts for three years, earning a master's degree and writing and directing the award-winning short film Perfect Alibi. It was there that he met Bob Ducsay, who has gone on to edit all of his movies.

Career

Perfect Alibi helped Sommers acquire independent funding to write and direct his first feature film, the teen racing movie Catch Me If You Can, filmed for $800,000 on location in his hometown of St. Cloud.[2] The film was sold at the Cannes Film Festival for $7 million and later debuted on video in the US.

Almost four years later, broke and in danger of having his house repossessed,[3] he wrote and directed an adaptation of Mark Twain's classic The Adventures of Huck Finn for Walt Disney Pictures, as well as Rudyard Kipling's The Jungle Book. He later wrote the screenplays for Gunmen and The Adventures of Tom and Huck, which he also executive produced for Disney, and worked as a staff writer at Hollywood Pictures. While there he worked on a script called Tentacle, which he later directed under the title Deep Rising in 1998.

In 1999, he wrote and directed Universal Studios' big-budget remake of The Mummy. The film was a smash hit, and Sommers received two Saturn Award nominations for Best Director and Best Writer in 2000 by the Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror Films. A successful sequel, The Mummy Returns, followed two years later, and he also co-wrote and produced 2002's The Scorpion King, a prequel/spin-off of The Mummy Returns.

In 2004, Sommers founded his own company (along with editor/producing partner Bob Ducsay), The Sommers Company, and returned to theater screens with Van Helsing, a movie pitting legendary vampire hunter Gabriel Van Helsing against the triumvirate of Universal movie monsters: Count Dracula, The Wolf Man, and Frankenstein's monster. Before Van Helsing even premiered, Sommers and Ducsay began developing a spin-off TV series for NBC called Transylvania. Though featuring none of the characters from the film, the series (which was to have made use of the film's Prague set) was about a young cowboy from Texas who becomes a sheriff in Transylvania, has many strange adventures, and encounters many strange creatures. Sommers and Ducsay were to have been executive producers, and Sommers wrote scripts for the pilot and first several episodes, but NBC decided not to go through with the show.

Since Van Helsing, Sommers has been attached to a number of projects. He was originally set to direct Night at the Museum, but dropped out due to creative differences. He was also attached to a remake of When Worlds Collide (to be executive produced by Steven Spielberg), a new big-screen adaptation of Flash Gordon, a swashbuckling adventure movie called Airborn based on the novel, a romantic/adventure story called Big Love, and a remake of the French film Les Victimes. Sommers opted out of directing the third Mummy film, titled The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor, instead becoming one of its producers.

Sommers directed Paramount Pictures' summer 2009 live-action adaptation of G.I. Joe, and also served as a producer.[4]

He is currently developing a Tarzan adaptation for Warner Bros.[5]

Filmography

Year Film Credited as
Director Writer Producer Other
1993 The Adventures of Huck Finn Yes Yes
1994 Gunmen Yes
The Jungle Book Yes Yes
1996 Tom and Huck Yes Yes
1997 Oliver Twist Yes
1998 Deep Rising Yes Yes
1999 The Mummy Yes Yes
2000 Running Away Yes
2001 The Mummy Returns Yes Yes
2002 The Scorpion King Yes Yes Yes
2004 Van Helsing Yes Yes Yes
Van Helsing: The London Assignment Yes
2008 The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor Yes Yes
The Scorpion King 2: Rise of a Warrior Yes Yes
2009 G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra Yes Yes
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