Allen Coulter

Allen Coulter

Born in College Station, TX, Coulter studied theater direction at the University of Texas before moving to New York City to pursue his love of film. Working odd jobs in New York, including messenger, he managed to scrape up enough money to make his first short film, "The Hobbs Case." After serving as 1st assistant director on the little-seen heist picture "The Great Bank Hoax" (1978), he earned his first professional credit as director on the syndicated horror anthology, "Tales of the Darkside" (1983-88). That show's production team, which included legendary independent director George Romero and producer Richard Rubinstein, later tapped Coulter to write and direct for their subsequent anthology series, "Monsters" (syndicated, 1988-1991). Coulter eased his way onto more prominent projects, starting with 1991's "It's Only Rock & Roll," a feature for ABC's long-running "Afterschool Special" series (1972-1988). Stints as director for hire on short-lived programs like "Michael Hayes" (CBS, 1997-98) preceded more prestigious TV work on Chris Carter's science fiction thrillers "The X-Files" (Fox, 1993-2002) and "Millennium" (Fox, 1996-99). Coulter's first major milestone as a television director came in 1999 with "College," the fifth episode of the HBO flagship series, "The Sopranos." Regarded as one of the best entries in the much-lauded series' entire run, it assured him a position as one of the show's regular directors, with 12 episodes to his name over the course of five seasons. Coulter also served as one of its many producers for the remainder of the first and entire second seasons.Coulter received considerable recognition for his work on "The Sopranos," including two Emmy nominations as producer, three nods from the Television Academy for his directing on the program, and two more from the Directors Guild of America. More importantly, "The Sopranos" made him a proven commodity for HBO's other primetime series, including "Sex and the City," "Six Feet Under" and "Rome" (HBO, 2005-07). For his efforts on "Sex and the City," he received two additional DGA nominations. Coulter's reputation as one of the most capable crime drama directors also afforded him an inroad to NBC, where he helmed an episode of the network's ambitious "Sopranos"-influenced miniseries, "Kingpin" (2003). After developing a knack for creating what could be construed as hour-long features for so many HBO programs, it was natural that Coulter would make the transition to movies. In 2006, he made his big-screen directorial debut with "Hollywoodland," a well-crafted mystery-drama about a seedy detective (Adrien Brody) hired to look into the circumstances surrounding the shooting death of actor George Reeves (Ben Affleck in a reputation-reviving performance). Though praised by critics and the recipient of a Golden Lion nomination at the 2006 Venice Film Festival, "Hollywoodland" did only modest business in American theaters.Coulter returned to television work for the FX Network, where he helmed pilots for their Emmy-winning drama "Damages" as well as "Sons of Anarchy" (2008-15). The former earned him another Emmy nomination for his direction in 2008. He also blended his too-infrequently-seen light touch with his "Sopranos" past when he directed an ad for Hillary Clinton's Presidential campaign in 2007. The spot featured Senator Clinton and her husband, former President Bill Clinton - both avowed "Sopranos" fans - eyeballing a restaurant menu a la Tony and Carmela. A cameo by actor Vincent Curatola, who played the reptilian Johnny Sack on the series, only added to the light-hearted nature of the spot.