Rupert Wainwright

Rupert Wainwright

One of the youngest directors accepted in the Discovery Program sponsored by Columbia Pictures, British-born Rupert Wainwright established his reputation as an award-winning maker of commercial spots (i.e., Reebok Shoes' "Blacktop" ads) and music videos (more than a dozen for M.C. Hammer). A former actor who appeared in two British films ("Another Country" 1984 and "Dreamchild" 1985), he directed the very stylish ABC TV-movie "Dillinger" (1991), starring Mark Harmon, before making his feature debut at the helm of the Disney programmer "Blank Check" (1994), a "Home Alone" clone which wallowed so exuberantly in conspicuous consumption that its ultimate "money can't buy happiness" message rang hollow. Wainwright followed with the original and often provocative "The Sadness of Sex" (1995), a collaboration with actor-writer Barry Yourgrau comprising 15 vignettes on the cyclical phases of courtship, romance, passion and breakup, each directed in a distinct visual style and accompanied by a different kind of music. Unfortunately, the excessive MTV-like parade of images and sounds and consciously disjointed narrative undercut the emotional impact of the elaborately mounted multimedia performance piece. Wainwright's next feature entry was "Stigmata" (1999), an "Exorcist" clone starring Patricia Arquette as a woman who may or may not be possessed by demons and Gabriel Byrne as the priest dispatched by the Vatican to uncover the truth.