Randall Miller

Randall Miller

Director, Actor, Writer, Producer

Miller is a member of the DGA, SAG and the WGA. He began his career as a struggling actor appearing in TV commercials, theater and a few stints in television shows and movies. After USC Film School he went to the AFI. His thesis film at the AFI launched his career as a director working in television when Ed Zwick hired him to direct thirty something when he was still in his twenties. His first break into features came when Todd Black hired him to direct Class Act starring Kid 'N Play. He often works with his wife and collaborator Jody Savin with whom he has written numerous screenplays, many un-produced and others produced. When they were in their 40's they took the money out of there house and produced Marilyn Hotchkiss Ballroom Dancing & Charm School starring Marisa Tomei, John Goodman and Robert Carlyle. Marilyn Hotchkiss premiered at Sundance and thus started the couples foray into independent film. Their most successful independent film was Bottle Shock starring Alan Rickman, Bill Pullman and Chris Pine. The couple raised money and self released the film domestically when they were unhappy with the distribution deals being offered. START OF HIS PROFESSIONAL CAREER AS A DIRECTOR It was at the AFI student showcase screening of the short film MARILYN HOTCHKISS' BALLROOM DANCING AND CHARM SCHOOL that Ed Zwick saw the film and invited Miller to shadow a director on the set of his hit television series THIRTYSOMETHING. When a slot became available, Miller stepped in and was hired to direct an episode of THIRTYSOMETHING. He was not even thirty at the time. Miller joined the DGA at age 27 to direct THIRTYSOMETHING. Based on the success of his having worked with kids on his short film, Miller went on to direct several children programs as well. He directed the pilot for SALUTE YOUR SHORTS in which he cast several children from his award winning short film. SALUTE YOUR SHORTS became a successful series for Nickelodeon and played for years. He directed five episodes of RUNNING THE HALLS on NBC; three episodes of CITY KIDS for ABC and Henson; and PARKER LEWIS CAN'T LOSE for Fox. At the same time as securing television directing jobs, Miller and his writing partner Jody Savin were developing and selling screenplays and television series ideas to networks and studios. PETE, a live action retelling of the Pinocchio tale, was sold to Disney Studios through Adelson/Baumgarten productions. Miller and Jody were signed to a three-picture writing deal at Disney Studios. Miller joined the WGA as well on the Disney job. Producer Alberto Grimaldi and Salvatore Alabiso optioned MARILYN HOTCHKISS BALLROOM DANCING AND CHARM SCHOOL with the idea to make the short film into a feature length film with Miller directing. CLASS ACT Todd Black saw the short film MARILYN HOTCHKISS BALLROOM DANCING AND CHARM SCHOOL, read some Miller and Savin's writing and was a fan of the THIRTYSOMETHING that Miller had directed. He took a chance on Miller and hired him to direct his first feature film, the Warner Brothers film CLASS ACT starring Kid 'n Play. CLASS ACT featured Miller's cousin, Rhea Perlman, Ray Burke who Miller had worked with as an actor on THROW MOMMA FROM THE TRAIN, Pauly Shore and several others. Class Act tested 97% excellent in front of the test audiences. This "low budget" studio film budgeted at 7.5M went on to become quite successful for Warners and grossed 13M theatrically. Over the years, Miller has been approached about doing a sequel or remake. HOUSEGUEST Joe Roth and Roger Birnbaum saw the trailer for CLASS ACT and predicted its success. Based on the buzz, they hired Miller and Savin to rewrite and Miller to direct HOUSEGUEST starring Sinbad. Miller cast Phil Hartman in the starring role opposite Sinbad. The rest of the cast included Kim Greist whom Miller had met while acting in THROW MOMMA FROM THE TRAIN, Jeffrey Jones, Paul Ben Victor, Stan Shaw and Pat Fraser who had been the lead of Miller's student film MARILYN HOTCHKISS BALLROOM DANCING AND CHARM SCHOOL. HOUSEGUEST was filmed on location in Pittsburgh. Savin served as a Co-Producer. Miller also hired his film school cinematographer Mike Ozier to be the second unit cinematographer. Joe Roth and Roger Birnbaum produced the film. Halfway through production, Joe Roth was tapped by Disney Studios to take over as the head of Production. HOUSEGUEST tested extremely well, 94% in the top two boxes and again this rather "low budgeted" studio film went onto to do quite well. Budgeted at 10M, HOUSEGUEST made 26M theatrically. Roger Birnbaum then hired Miller and Savin to write and develop their screenplay, THE LIFT. THE SIXTH MAN Off the success of HOUSEGUEST, another Disney on-the-lot producer David Hoberman hired Miller to direct the basketball sports comedy starring Marlon Wayans. Wayans and Miller forged a great relationship and made the basketball film in Vancouver BC. Savin and Miller rewrote the script, and Savin served as an Executive Producer on the film. The supporting cast included many well-known college coaches and basketball royalty: Nolan Richardson, John Thompson, Brad Nessler, Dick Vitale, Jerry Tarkanian, George Raveling, Billy Packer, Todd Bozeman, Jim Harrick, Lute Olson. The supporting cast was also a combination of actors and former players: Kadeem Hardison, Paul Ben Victor, David Paymer, Will Sasso, Michael Michelle, Lorenzo Orr, Travis Ford, Kevin Dunn and Chris Spencer. Miller discovered and cast Octavia Spencer who got her SAG card on that film. Miller hired Mike Ozier, his AFI film school buddy, as the cinematographer on the film. SIXTH MAN was a moderate success; it cost 11M and went on to make 15M theatrically. TELEVISION FILMS Miller filled his time between the studio films he and Savin were writing and developing with directing assignments in television both in movie-for-television and episodic. Miller directed episodes of NORTHERN EXPOSURE, JACK AND JILL, POPULAR, the pilot for DEAD LAST. Miller directed two MOWs for ABC, THE TALE OF TWO BUNNIES shot in Toronto and ABC's H-E-DOUBLE HOCKEY STICKS in Vancouver, and one MOW for ABC Family TILL DAD DO US PART starring John Larroquette and Markie Post. He developed a movie for ABC about the creation GILLIGAN'S ISLAND with Gilligan creator Sherwood Schwartz and his son Lloyd Schwartz. SCREENPLAYS SOLD Miller and his writing partner sold THE BEST WOMAN to Universal and PARENT WARS to Universal with Robert Simonds attached to produce. They sold PIRATE TOM to Fox with Larry Brezner attached to produce. Miller and Savin developed and sold a sit-com pilot called PROMISE AND DASH to Paramount Studios and Paramount Television. INDEPENDENT FILMS MARILYN HOTCHKISS BALLROOM DANCING & CHARM SCHOOL Frustrated with the types of films he was being offered as a director, Miller and Savin wrote, produced and Randall directed a feature length version of the short film of the same name. Miller and Savin took a loan against their house and with two small children at home, they put their money into the film. The film cost 2M and was cobbled together with money from friends and family and a small group of investors. Miller made a deal with AFI to buy the rights back to his film to incorporate that original 16mm footage into the feature film as a flashback. The original film's negative was scanned and repaired using digital clean-up to be incorporated in the larger film. The current day part of the film was populated with an all-star cast who responded to the screenplay and the fact that these filmmakers had so much on the line. The cast included: Academy Award winner Marisa Tomei, Robert Carlyle, John Goodman, Danny DeVito, Donnie Wahlberg, a now grown-up Elden Henson (who also starred in the short film years earlier), Octavia Spencer, Academy Award winner Mary Steenburgen, Sean Astin, David Paymer, Miguel Sandoval, Camryn Manheim, Adam Arkin and Ernie Hudson. The film premiered in 2005 at the Sundance Film Festival to standing ovations. It was sold and released by Samuel Goldwyn and overseas by Shoreline Entertainment. The film played numerous film festivals both domestically and abroad, garnering several awards. NOBEL SON Off the success of MARILYN HOTCHKISS BALLROOM DANCING AND CHARM SCHOOL, Miller and Savin teamed with many of the same investors as well as new investors to make the 4M dollar budgeted film in Los Angeles. Miller and Savin wrote, produced and Miller directed Nobel Son, a dark comedic tale of the son of a Nobel Prize winning scientist. Maybe the best moment of Miller and Savin's careers as writers was the phone message on their machine left by Alan Rickman after he read the screenplay, "Thank you for being real writers, but unfortunately I don't see how I can fit the film into my schedule." He left his phone number. So Miller and Savin called Alan Rickman and proceeded to change the film's schedule to fit Alan's. It was the start of a great collaboration and friendship. In addition to Alan Rickman, the film starred Mary Steenburgen, Bill Pullman, Ernie Hudson, Danny DeVito, Sean Hatosy, Eliza Dushku, Ted Danson, Tracy Walters and Bryan Greenberg. NOBEL SON premiered at the Tribeca Film festival in 2007 and was released theatrically in 2008. BOTTLE SHOCK Drawing on his days at UC Davis studying enology, Miller next directed BOTTLE SHOCK about the birth of the Napa wine scene in 1976 following the Judgement of Paris in which the Napa wines defeated their French counterparts in a blind taste testing. Miller and Savin were approached by Marc and Brenda Lhormer of the then Sonoma Film Festival about the tale when the festival screened MARILYN HOTCHKISS BALLROOM DANCING AND CHARM SCHOOL. Marc and Brenda Lhormer along with Todd Harris produced the film with Miller and Savin. Miller and Savin rewrote the screenplay and approached Alan Rickman to play the lead role of wine connoisseur Steven Spurrier in the film and Bill Pullman to play the vintner Bo Barrett of Chateau Montelena. The strong cast included Freddy Rodriguez, Bradley Whitford, Dennis Farina, Racheal Taylor, Eliza Dushku, and Miguel Sandoval. To play the young lead, they discovered another great talent, Chris Pine. After seeing Chris Pine in BOTTLE SHOCK, JJ Abrams cast Chris in STAR TREK as Captain Kirk. BOTTLE SHOCK was filmed entirely on location in Sonoma and Napa Counties, with an old vineyard doubling for the French countryside. BOTTLE SHOCK was a tremendous success at Sundance when it premiered in 2008. BOTTLE SHOCK went on to win awards at the Seattle International Film Festival and the Maui Film Festival amongst others. Unhappy with the offers being held out at Sundance, MIller and Savin choose to self-release the feature film. They raised additional capital, hired the marketing team from Roadside Attractions and sold the home video to Fox. They were involved in creating television ads and billboards and bought the internet banners. They sold the airline rights separately, and many of the foreign markets one by one. To this day the way Miller and Savin released BOTTLE SHOCK is often studied as a case-study in self-release. SAVANNAH

Filmography

Connections

  • Jody Savin

    Jody Savin

  • Alan Rickman

    Alan Rickman

  • Mary Steenburgen

    Mary Steenburgen

  • Hal B. Klein

    Hal B. Klein

  • Chris Pine

    Chris Pine

  • Bill Pullman

    Bill Pullman

  • Malin Akerman

    Malin Akerman

  • Richard de Klerk

    Richard de Klerk

Genres

  • Thriller
  • Fantasy
  • Action & Adventure
  • Comedy
  • Drama
  • Romance
  • Music Videos & Concerts
  • Sports
  • Children & Family
  • Musical