Frank Coraci

Frank Coraci

Born and raised in New York, Coraci got his start in filmmaking while attending New York University's Tisch School of the Arts. Though Coraci had creative impulses, he was unsure of what he wanted to do. But after taking a film class and seeing the beauty of "It's A Wonderful Life" (1946), Coraci decided to become a director-a career he never realized was an option. It was during his NYU years that Coraci met Sandler, then an undergraduate just breaking into stand-up comedy. Coraci received his BFA in 1988 and began working on short films, music videos and travel documentaries. It was while directing for a major touring company that he got an opportunity to travel the world like Phileas Fogg, the main character in Coraci's later directorial effort, "Around the World in 80 Days" (2004). In 1994, Coraci directed his first feature, the award-winning "Murdered Innocence" (1994). The revenge thriller garnered Best Feature Film and Best Directorial Debut at the Long Island Film Festival. Despite early recognition, Coraci didn't direct larger projects right away. Another four years passed before "The Wedding Singer" was released, followed by "The Waterboy" nine months later. Both starred Sandler, with whom Coraci has collaborated with on several of the comedian's music projects, including What The Hell Happened To Me? And What's Your Name? Coraci helped write some of the music-he's a DJ in his off hours-and later directed the videos for Steve Polychronopoulos and The Lonesome Kicker. Coraci later formed his own production company, Spanknyce, which joined forces with Walden Media to bring Jules Verne's classic adventure novel, "Around the World in 80 Days," to cinematic life. Coraci was never impressed with the original filmed version-he felt it was a little boring. Made in 1956 and starring David Niven as the wealthy Englishman who sets out to win a bet by circumnavigating the globe in a "record time" of 80 days, the original stuck to the essential gist of the novel. But Coraci decided to make a few changes, starting with making Passepartout an acrobat instead of Fogg's personal valet-a choice that fit the talents of Hong Kong action hero, Jackie Chan, whom Coraci cast in the role. Coraci also took the stodgy and pragmatic Phileas Fogg and turned him into an eccentric inventor; a dreamer in the vein of Verne himself. Coraci then cast British comedian Steve Coogan ("24 Hour Party People"), as Fogg-a risk due to his lack of recognition with American audiences. Unfortunately, "Around the World in 80 Days" failed to capture the attention of the movie-going public and critics were lukewarm in their reviews. Meanwhile, Coraci had several projects set up in development, so one would hope it won't be yet another five years till his next effort.