Biography

Bursting onto the scene with his eccentric, flamboyant, and undeniably affecting musical drama The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert, Australian director Stephan Elliot crafted one of the most acclaimed efforts of the 1990s. Though he may have subsequently stumbled with the Ewan McGregor/Ashley Judd flop Eye of the Beholder, one shouldn't write the persistent filmmaker off quite so quickly. A Sydney native who jokingly claims that he got into filmmaking to be loved, the acknowledged homosexual remains steadfast in his determination not to be pigeonholed as a "gay director" despite the thematic presence of such issues in some of his cinematic endeavors. Though it was a grueling eight years before his entry into the film world and his directorial debut, Frauds, the involving psychological crime comedy gained the director positive notice in the film world, and he followed up quickly with Priscilla the very next year. A free-spirited romp that won awards across the globe (including a Best Costume Design Oscar) and provided actor Terence Stamp with a poignant role that would breath new life into his career, Priscilla proved a worldwide phenomenon, and all eyes were on Elliot for a strong follow-up. On the heels of Priscilla, Elliot was courted by several Hollywood studios and offered the opportunity to direct such future hits as Twister and The First Wives Club (both 1996). Though the temptation to enter into the Hollywood elite was nearly overwhelming, Elliot stayed true to form and opted to retain his independent status with the little-seen comedy Welcome to Woop Woop. A fish-out-of-water laugher concerning a none too bright New York con man who ends up among the quirky inhabitants of the land Down Under, Welcome to Woop Woop retained the quirkiness of Priscilla but lacked the subtle emotional depth that had made the previous effort so endearing. His subsequent Hollywood bow with Eye of the Beholder didn't prove any more successful. Though some saw it as a thoughtful thriller, most responded that the film was an incomprehensible mess. Once again stepping behind the camera for the made-for-television remake of The Rocky Horror Picture Show in 2003, Elliot subsequently began preparation for the Ashley Judd drama The Husband I Bought and the romantic comedy Venetian Wedding. ~ Jason Buchanan, Rovi