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Todd Field

Todd Field at the 79th Academy Awards ceremony on February 25, 2007.
Born William Todd Field
February 24, 1964 (1964-02-24) (age 45)
United States Pomona, California, U.S.
Occupation Film director
Years active 1985 – present
Spouse(s) Serena Rathbun (1986 – )

William Todd Field, known professionally as Todd Field (born February 24, 1964) is an American actor and three time Academy Award-nominated writer/director.




Background and personal life

Field was born in Pomona, California, where his family ran a poultry farm.[1] When Field turned two his family moved to Portland, Oregon, where his father went to work as a salesman, and his mother became a school librarian.[2] He graduated from Centennial High School on Portland's eastside a budding jazz musician and briefly attending Southern Oregon State College (now Southern Oregon University) in Ashland on a music scholarship, but left after his freshman year favoring a move to New York to study acting. Once there, he began performing with the Ark Theatre Company as both an actor and musician.[3]

Field received his Master of Fine Arts from the AFI Conservatory.[4]

He married Serena Rathbun on July 25, 1986; they have four children, two of whom have appeared in Field's films.


One of the film industry's more multifaceted members, having worked in varying capacities as an actor, director, producer, composer, and screenwriter[5], Field began making motion pictures in 1985 when he was cast by Woody Allen in Radio Days. He went on to work with some of America's greatest film makers including Stanley Kubrick, Victor Nuñez, and Carl Franklin. It was Franklin and Nunez (both AFI alumnists) who encouraged Field to enroll as a Directing Fellow at the AFI, which he did in the fall of 1992. Since that time he has received the Franklin J. Schaffner Fellow Award from the AFI, the Satyajit Ray Award from the British Film Institute, a Jury Prize from the Sundance Film Festival, and his short films have been exhibited at various venues overseas and domestically at the Museum of Modern Art. To date, unadjusted box office receipts for the films in which Field has participated exceed a billion dollars worldwide.[6]

In the Bedroom

Tom Wilkinson & Sissy Spacek in Field's In the Bedroom. (2001)

Field became one of Hollywood's hottest new writer/directors with the release of In the Bedroom, a film based on the short story Killings by author Andre Dubus. (Both Kubrick and Dubus were among Field's mentors; tragically, both died right before the production of In the Bedroom.) In the Bedroom was nominated for five Academy Awards including Best Picture, Best Actor (Tom Wilkinson, his first nomination), Best Actress (Sissy Spacek, her sixth nomination), Supporting Actress (Marisa Tomei, her second nomination), and Best Screenplay (Adapted). The film was made in a small town in New England in which Field resides–the house where he, his wife (Serena Rathbun), and their four children live was even used as the setting for one sequence. Rathbun and Sissy Spacek did a portion of the set designing and Field handled the camera himself on many of the shots. The result, critics said, was stunning: David Ansen of Newsweek wrote,"Todd Field exhibits a mastery of his craft many filmmakers never acquire in a lifetime. With one film he’s guaranteed his future as a director. He has the magnificent obsession of the natural-born filmmaker."[7][8]

For his work on In the Bedroom, Field was named Director of the Year by the National Board of Review, and his script was awarded Best Original Screenplay. The film went on to win Best Picture of the Year by the Los Angeles Film Critics Association, and the New York Film Critics Circle awarded Best First Film to Field. In the Bedroom received six AFI nominations including Best Picture, Director, and Screenplay, three Golden Globe nominations, and five Academy Award nominations including Best Picture, Actor, Actress, Supporting Actress, and two individually for Field both as Screenwriter and Producer. The American Film Institute honored Field with the Franklin Schaffner Alumni Medal. With the exception of the AFI Life Achievement Award, the Schaffner Award is the highest honor an individual can achieve.

"Field has pulled off something here I thought no American filmmaker would ever manage again: he makes violence feel genuinely shocking."[9]
—Anthony Quinn, The Independent.

Little Children

Tom Perrotta and Field working on the script for Little Children. (2005)

Field followed In the Bedroom with Little Children, which was nominated for three Academy Awards including two for his actors: Kate Winslet (her fifth nomination, and with it a record for the youngest actor to be nominated for five Academy Awards) and Jackie Earle Haley (his first nomination, and first leading role in over fifteen years). After having written, directed and produced just two feature films, Field had garnered five Academy Award nominations for his actors, and three for himself, personally. The film, based on the novel of the same name by Tom Perrotta, premiered at the 2006 New York Film Festival to similar accolades: In reviewing the film, A. O. Scott of The New York Times wrote, "Mr. Field proves to be among the most literary of American filmmakers. In too many recent movies intelligence is woefully undervalued, and it is this quality — even more than its considerable beauty — that distinguishes “Little Children” from its peers. A movie that is challenging, accessible, and hard to stop thinking about.."[10]

Future Work

According to the Los Angeles Times, Field is currently in the process of adapting a film version of Cormac McCarthy's novel Blood Meridian.[11]



Feature Films

Year Film Oscars BAFTA Golden Globe
Nominations Wins Nominations Wins Nominations Wins
2001 In the Bedroom
2006 Little Children

Short Films

Year Film Duties Notes and Awards
1992 The Dog Co-Director with Alex Vlacos Short experimental film
Too Romantic Writer/Director AFI First Year Cycle Project
1993 When I Was a Boy Co-Director with Alex Vlacos & Matthew Modine Premiered at Sundance Film Festival in front of Victor Nuñez's Grand Jury Prize winning Ruby in Paradise in which Field also starred. Exhibited at MoMA as part of the New Directors/New Films Series
The Tree Writer/Director AFI First Year Cycle Project
Delivering Writer/Director AFI First Year Cycle Project
1995 Nonnie & Alex Director AFI Second Year Thesis Project

Winner Sundance Film Festival Special Jury Award, Winner College Emmy Best Film Award, Winner Aspen Short Fest Grand Prize


Year Film Role Director
1987 Radio Days Crooner Woody Allen
The Allnighter Bellhop Tamar Hoffs
Student Exchange Neil Barton/Adriano Fabrizzi Molly Miller
1988 Eye of the Eagle 2: Inside the Enemy Private Anthony Glenn Carl Franklin
Back to Back Todd Brand John Kincaide
The End of Innocence Richard Dyan Cannon
1989 Fat Man and Little Boy Robert Rathbun Wilson Roland Joffe
Gross Anatomy David Schreiner Thom Eberhardt
1990 Full Fathom Five Johnson Carl Franklin
1991 Queens Logic Cecil Steve Rash
1993 Ruby in Paradise Mike McCaslin Victor Nuñez
1994 Sleep With Me Duane Rory Kelly
1996 Twister Tim 'Beltzer' Lewis Jan de Bont
Walking and Talking Frank Nicole Holofcener
1999 Broken Vessels Jimmy Wazniack Scott Ziehl
Eyes Wide Shut Nick Nightingale Stanley Kubrick


Academy Awards and other distinctions

  • Little Children nominated by the Writers Guild of America: Best Adapted Screenplay of the Year


  1. ^ "Todd Field Biography -Movies@Piczo".  
  2. ^ "Todd Field Biography - Yahoo! Movies".  
  3. ^ Levy, Shawn. You couldn't write a better script. The Oregonian, March 23, 2002.
  4. ^ "Todd Field - Biography". Roberta Bresci. Retrieved 2008-06-28.  
  5. ^ "Todd Field Biography". New York Times. December 3, 2009.  
  6. ^ . Box Office Mojo. March 6, 2009.  
  7. ^ Ansen, David (December 3, 2001). "Their House Torn Asunder". Newsweek.  
  8. ^ Ansen, David. (January 21, 2002). "Break On Through To The Oscar Side.". Newsweek.  
  9. ^ Quinn, Anthony (25 January 2002). "The Big Picture: In the Bedroom= The Independent".  
  10. ^ Scott, A.O.. Playground Rules: No Hitting, No Sex. The New York Times, September 29, 2006.
  11. ^ Medina, Jeremy (August 28, 2008). "Cormac McCarthy's Blood Meridian film changes directors". The Los Angeles Times.  


External links


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