Although his name is often linked to that of the 'movie brat' generation (Spielberg, Scorsese, Coppola, Lucas, De Palma, etc.) Paul Schrader's background couldn't have been more different. Schrader's strict Calvinist parents refused to allow him to see a film until he was eighteen. Although he more than made up for lost time when studying at Calvin College, Columbia University and UCLA's graduate film program, his influences were far removed from those of his contemporaries - Bresson, Ozu and Dreyer (about whom he wrote a book, "Transcendental Style in Film") rather than Saturday morning serials. After a period as a film critic (and protégé of Pauline Kael), he began writing screenplays, hitting the jackpot when he and his brother, Leonard Schrader (a Japanese expert), were paid the then-record sum of $325,000, thus establishing his reputation as one of Hollywood's top screenwriters - which was consolidated when Martin Scorsese filmed Schrader's script Taxi Driver (1976), written in the early 1970s during a bout of drinking and depression. The success of the film allowed Schrader to start directing his own films, which have been notable for their willingness to take stylistic and thematic risks while still working squarely within the Hollywood system. The most original of his films (which he and many others regard as his best) was the Japanese co-production Mishima: A Life in Four Chapters (1985).
Brother of Leonard Schrader
Credits movie critic Pauline Kael with helping start up his career by writing him a recommendation to film school.
Originally directed Exorcist: The Beginning (2004), but his final print was rejected for not being gory enough. He was fired and replaced by Renny Harlin, who reshot almost 90% of the film. Schrader receives no credit in the final film. Morgan Creek Pictures did state, however, that they will release his version of the film on DVD, in the near future!
Has a daughter with his wife, Mary Beth Hurt.
Brother-in-law of Chieko Schrader.
Member of the jury at the Berlin International Film Festival 1987
Grew up in Grand Rapids, Michigan