Timur Bekmambetov does on 25th June - check out my tribute to this Birthday Boy turning 56, at the end of this feature.
Do you also share your birthday with a well known, highly regarded & famous Actor or Actress; share your special day with a Director, Producer, Writer, Cinematographer, Singer/Songwriter or Composer of repute; or share an interest in whoever might notch up another year in the coming seven days? Then, look no further! Whilst there will be too many to mention in this small but not insignificant and beautifully written and presented Blog, here are the more notable and noteworthy icons of the big screen, and the small screen, that you will recognise, and that you might just share your birthday with in the week ahead. If so, Happy Birthday to you from Odeon Online!
Sunday 25th June
- Anthony Bourdain - Born 1956, turns 61 - Television Personality | Celebrity Chef | Writer | Producer | Actor
- Ricky Gervais - Born 1961, turns 56 - Actor | Television Personality | Writer | Producer | Director | Singer | Songwriter
- Timur Bekmambetov - Born 1961, turns 56 - Director | Writer | Producer
Monday 26th June
- Robert Davi - Born 1951, turns 66 - Actor | Producer | Director | Writer
- Paul Thomas Anderson - Born 1970, turns 47 - Director | Writer | Producer
- Chris O'Donnell - Born 1970, turns 47 - Actor | Producer | Director
- Jason Schwarzman - Born 1980, turns 37 - Actor | Singer | Songwriter | Composer | Writer | Producer
- Ariana Grande - Born 1993, turns 24 - Singer | Songwriter | Composer | Actress
Tuesday 27th June
- J.J. Abrams - Born 1966, turns 51 - Producer | Director | Writer | Composer | Songwriter | Actor
- Tobey Maguire - Born 1975, turns 42 - Actor | Producer
- Sam Claflin - Born 1986, turns 31 - Actor
Wednesday 28th June
- Mel Brooks - Born 1926, turns 91 - Actor | Writer | Producer | Director | Singer | Songwriter
- Bruce Davison - Born 1946, turns 71 - Actor | Director
- John Cusack - Born 1966, turns 51 - Actor | Producer | Writer
- Kathy Bates - Born 1948, turns 69 - Actress | Director | Singer
Thursday 29th June
- Gary Busey - Born 1944, turns 73 - Actor | Singer | Songwriter | Composer
Friday 30th June
- Vincent D'Onofrio - Born 1959, turns 58 - Actor | Producer | Director | Writer
- Morton Csokas - Born 1966, turns 51 - Actor
- Lizzy Caplan - Born 1982, turns 35 - Actress | Producer
Saturday 1st July
- Genevieve Bujold - Born 1942, turns 75 - Actress |
- Pamela Anderson - Born 1967, turns 50 - Actress | Producer
- Liv Tyler - Born 1977, turns 40 - Actress | Producer
- Lea Seydoux - Born 1985, turns 32 - Actress |
- David Prowse - Born 1935, turns 82 - Actor
- Trevor Eve - Born 1951, turns 66 - Actor | Producer
- Dan Aykroyd - Born 1952, turns 65 - Actor | Writer | Producer | Singer | Director
- David Gulpilil - Born 1953, turns 64 - Actor | Writer
Timur Nuruakhitovich Bekmambetov was born in Guryev as it was known until 1991 when it was renamed Atyrau - a city in Kazakhstan located at the mouth of the Ural River on the Caspian Sea. His mother Mira Bogoslavskaya was a journalist, and his father Nuruakhit Bekmambetov, a manager at the Guryev Energy Company. In 1978, at the age of seventeen he moved to Moscow, and from then until 1980 he attended the Moscow Energy Institute, but he was more interested in art and movies. Eventually he dropped out of college, and at age nineteen he relocated himself to Tashkent, the largest and capital city of Uzbekistan to study at the Alexander Ostrovsky Theatrical and Artistic Institute from where he graduated in 1987 with a Degree in Theatre and Cinema Set Design. During this time Bekmambetov also served in the Soviet Red Army, stationed at the artillery division near Ashkhabad, Turkmenistan, which ultimately was his inspiration for his Screenwriting and Directorial debut 'Peshawar Waltz' (aka 'Escape from Afghanistan') in 1994. This was a Russian action drama film chronicling the real life events of the war in Afghanistan and the uprising of Soviet held prisoners that took place in Badaber, near Peshawar, Pakistan in April 1985.
Prior to this however, and during the early and mid '90's Bekmambetov was one of a panel of Directors who worked on the award winning 'World History' series of television commercials for the Bank Imperial. In 1994 he formed his own film and advertisement production, distribution and marketing company - Bazelevs Group which now has offices in Moscow and Los Angeles. In 2000 Bekmambetov Produced and Directed an eight part mini series 'Nashi 90-e' ('Our '90's') about the journey through life and death of three random men following the post-Soviet years. 2001 saw him return to Directing feature films with the release of 'The Arena' - a remake of the 1974 gladiator exploitation film of the same name with Pam Grier and Margaret Markov in the lead roles. This updated version Produced by Roger Corman still featured female gladiators with Playboy Playmates Karen Mcdougall and Lisa Dergen in their debut lead roles. 2004 saw Bekmambetov's breakout film 'Night Watch' - a supernatural fantasy horror thriller based on the novel by Russian Science Fiction and fantasy author Sergei Lukyanenko - which he both wrote for the screen and Directed for a cost of US$4.2M. The film was critically acclaimed and at the time of its release quickly became the most financially successful film in Russia ever - taking close to US$17M. The film went on to gross US$34M at the global Box Office in the countries where it was released.
Intended to be a trilogy of films, he followed up with 'Day Watch' in 2006 featuring the same cast and following on a year from the setting of the first film. Also made for US$4.2M the film grossed US$32M in Russia alone. The third film in the franchise was intended to be 'Twilight Watch' however, the Director instead decided to make 'Wanted' rather than getting stuck in an artistic rut. As such, the film never got made, nor are there any plans slated at this time to do so. Allegedly, there are plans for a television series though. He followed this up with the 2007 Written and Directed 'The Irony of Fate 2' which is a Russian RomCom and a direct sequel to the hugely popular (in its own country) 1976 film 'The Irony of Fate'. The film cost US$5M to make and grossed US$55M, with 90% of that take coming from Russian audiences.
'Wanted' followed in 2008 based on the comic book mini-series of the same name by Mark Millar and J.G. Jones. Starring Angelina Jolie, James McAvoy, Morgan Freeman, Terence Stamp and Common, this was Bekmambetov's Hollywood debut and a huge success it was too - grossing US$342M at the worldwide Box Office from a US$75M budget and critically praised for its fast paced stylised action sequences, solid performances, and great visuals. A sequel was planned but has languished in development hell, although 'Wanted 2' on which Bekmambetov will Produce, has been recently announced.
In 2010 Bekmambetov Co-Directed 'Yolki' (aka 'Six Degrees of Celebration'), described as an epic comedy showcasing how the world's largest country can come together to celebrate New Years Eve, no matter how far apart we are all. Tapping into hope, optimism and possibility amongst the Russian people, two sequels were released in 2011 with 'Yolki 2', in 2013 with 'Yolki 3' and a prequel in 2014 with 'Yolki 1914'. The initial film in the series became the second highest grossing Russian film in Russian Box Office history. 'Yolki 5' was released in 2016, on which Bekmambetov took a Co-Director and a Producer credit.
His next Directorial outing was in 2012 with the dark fantasy action horror film 'Abraham Lincoln : Vampire Hunter' starring Benjamin Walker in the title role as the 16th President of the USofA by day, and secret vampire slayer by night. The film also starred Dominic Cooper, Rufus Sewell, Marton Csokas, Anthony Mackie and Mary Elizabeth Winstead, and Tim Burton Co-Produced with the Director. Made for US$100M the film made US$117M and received mixed Reviews.
Next up in the Director's chair was a remake of the epic 'Ben Hur' released in 2016 and starring Jack Huston, Toby Kebbell, Morgan Freeman and Rodrigo Santoro. Tagged as 'a re-adaptation', 'a reimagining' and 'a new interpretation' of the 1880 source novel and the most notable 1959 multi-award wining William Wyler film, Bekmambetov's version cost US$100M to make, plus marketing and promotional costs and took US$94M at the worldwide Box Office making it a Box Office bomb, and to which it was largely negatively Reviewed.
In the meantime, Bekmambetov has Produced numerous films including '9' in 2009, a computer-animated post-apocalyptic science fiction adventure film starring the voice talents of Elijah Wood, John C. Reilly, Jennifer Connelly, Christopher Plummer, Crispin Glover and Martin Landau amongst others. That same year he Produced Russian Superhero film 'Black Lightning' with Grigoriy Dobrigyn; found footage Sci-Fi horror film 'Apollo 18' in 2011; then alien invasion Sci-Fi thriller 'The Darkest Hour' also in 2011 with Emile Hirsch, Max Minghella, Olivia Thirlby, Joel Kinnaman and Rachael Taylor.
'Hardcore Henry' followed in 2015 - the first person shoot 'em up actioner, to which Bekmambetov took another Producer credit, and starred Sharlto Copley, Tim Roth and Haley Bennett. The film cost only about US$3M to make and grossed US$17M worldwide and received largely mixed Reviews. The found footage supernatural horror chiller 'Unfriended' came next in 2014 and tells the story almost entirely through a high school student's MacBook screen, as several friends find themselves terrorised online by an anonymous person. The film cost a paltry US$1M to make and grossed US$64M worldwide, making a sequel almost inevitable, which was in fact announced in April 2015, with Production starting anytime now. In between time there have been several other films both Directed and Produced by Bekmambetov for a largely Russian audience.
Also as Producer, and announced recently to go into Production are 'Wanted 2', 'Unfriended 2', comedy 'Liked' currently in Post-Production, and 'The Current War' due for release in December this year and telling the historical story of Thomas Eddison and George Westinghouse who compete to bring a sustainable electricity system to the American public, and starring Tom Holland, Benedict Cumberbatch, Nicholas Hoult, Michael Shannon, Matthew Macfadyen and Katherine Waterston.
This brings us up to date. All told Bekmambetov has 34 Producer credits to his name, fifteen as Director, and seven as Writer. He has won five awards and been nominated another ten times.
Timur Bekmambetov - has established himself as a driving force behind Russian cinema both in front of the camera and behind it; is the founder of an end to end Production company; has stamped his mark on Hollywood with big action fare; is motivated by challenge and curiosity; is excited by young up and coming film makers and in making innovative films, and is not afraid to go out on a limb to get a film made. Sci-Fi, horror, fantasy, comedy and animation - he's at home with small independent fare and big budget epics too. You'll never be pigeon holed Timur - Happy Birthday to you, from Odeon Online.
-Steve, at Odeon Online-