×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Director to Watch: Floria Sigismondi

Rookie makes jump to directing from photography, video

How often does this go down in Hollywood: Two veteran producers (Art and John Linson) option a book with commercial potential (the true story of a famous 1970s all-girl rock band), then hire a first-time filmmaker with virtually no narrative experience and not a single finished screenplay under her belt to both write and direct the film with two of the town’s most bankable young actresses (Kristen Stewart and Dakota Fanning) in the lead roles.

But that’s exactly what happened with veteran photographer and musicvideo director Floria Sigismondi and her debut feature, “The Runaways.” Based on the true story of the band that spawned rockers Joan Jett and Lita Ford, pic focuses on the relationship between Jett (Stewart) and lead singer Cherie Currie (Fanning), who joined the Runaways when she was just 15. “It’s definitely more of a coming-of-age story than a traditional biopic,” says Sigismondi. “I wanted to tell a story that was really raw and authentic.”

Born in Pescara, Italy, but raised in Hamilton (Ontario), Canada, Sigismondi grew up in a creative environment. “Both of my parents were opera singers, and that kind of made us fish-out-of-water in Hamilton,” Sigismondi notes. “I went to art school as soon as I possibly could.” Starting out as a painter, she eventually became entranced by photography and after graduation quickly found work as a fashion and music photographer. “Film was just a really natural progression for me from photography, but once I started experimenting, I just fell in love with the whole process,” says Sigismondi, who has directed musicvids for artists including David Bowie, Marilyn Manson, the Cure and Christina Aguilera.

Sigismondi met the Linsons through her manager, Brian Young. “I had only read Cherie’s book (“Neon Angel”), but I knew what story I wanted to tell and what I wanted to focus on, which was her relationship with Joan. I really saw parts of myself in both girls.”

So far, producer John Linson’s faith in Sigismondi’s vision has paid off. “Floria was and is a truly amazing collaborator,” says Linson (“Lords of Dogtown”). “She’s extremely focused, is a great visualist, and has a phenomenal sense of detail, which is backed by tons of research. She’s also the hardest worker I’ve ever met and truly good people.”

Financed by Bill Pohlad’s River Road, “The Runaways” premieres at Sundance and will be released Stateside by Apparition on March 19.

VITAL STATS

AGE: 44


HOMEBASE:
Los Angeles

INSPIRED BY: Stanley Kubrick, Federico Fellini and German helmer Uli Edel’s seminal 1981 Berlin drug-scene film “Christiane F.”

REPS: Manager: Brian Young (Untitled); agent: Robert Newman (WME)

Popular on Variety

More Scene

  • US record producer The-Dream arrives for

    Top Music Publishers Come Together for Songs of Hope Honors

    The 15th annual Songs of Hope honors united songwriters, music industry insiders and more than a few preeminent doctors at producer Alex Da Kid’s Sherman Oaks compound on Thursday night. Jimmy Jam returned to host the event, which served as a fundraiser for the ever-vital City of Hope medical treatment center as well as a [...]

  • Renee Zellweger Rufus Wainwright Sam Smith

    Renée Zellweger: Judy Garland Was 'My Childhood Hero'

    Awards buzz is building around Renée Zellweger for her performance as Judy Garland, emerging as a frontrunner in the Oscar race for best actress. But for her, the real prize was paying tribute to Garland, of whom she’s been a lifelong fan. “Nobody was prettier, nobody sang prettier…the adventures she had, [she was] my childhood [...]

  • Keke Palmer BlogHer19 Summit

    Keke Palmer Brought to Tears Accepting Truth Teller Award at #BlogHer19 Creators Summit

    Keke Palmer stood surprised and wide-mouthed on the #BlogHer19 Creators Summit stage as she was presented with the Truth Teller Award for her recent acting work — and her viral “sorry to this man” clip. “This means so much,” the multi-hyphenated star softly whispered as she got teary-eyed upon accepting the award. Last week, the [...]

  • LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - SEPTEMBER 19:

    Emmys 2019: Inside All the Hottest Pre-Parties

    It’s (Emmys) party time! Before the 71st annual Emmys go live on Sunday, stars and execs are keeping busy by party-hopping in the days leading up to the big show. Here, Variety gives you the inside details on who was where and what they were doing. Keep checking back right here throughout the weekend for [...]

  • Jennifer Lopez Green Dress

    Jennifer Lopez Closes Out Versace Show in Famous Green Grammys Dress

    Jennifer Lopez has found her way back into the Versace dress that broke the internet in 2000. The “Hustlers” star closed out Versace’s Spring 2020 show in a re-worked version of the revealing, bright green silk chiffon dress that she wore to the Grammy Awards 20 years ago. The dress quickly became a pop-culture phenomenon, [...]

  • 10 Storytellers to Watch

    Variety Celebrates Inaugural 10 Storytellers to Watch Event

    Storytellers from across the spectrum of entertainment — film, literature, podcasting and play writing — were honored Thursday at Variety’s inaugural 10 Storytellers to Watch luncheon at Gramercy Park Hotel, hosted with partner the Independent Filmmaker Project and presented by Audible. Honorees Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah, author of “Friday Black”; “Limetown” podcasters Zack Akers and Skip Bronkie; [...]

  • Demi Moore Corporate Animals

    Demi Moore Teases Upcoming Memoir 'Inside Out,' Talks 'Corporate Animals' Team Bonding

    As Demi Moore gears up for the Sept. 24 release of her autobiography “Inside Out,” the actress says she feels like a weight has been lifted. “Even the stuff that I may have been nervous about is completely lifting…because it’s a process,” Moore told Variety at the premiere of her upcoming film “Corporate Animals” at [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content