Stephen David Daldry, CBE (born 2 May 1960) is an English director and producer of both film and theatre. He has won two Olivier Awards for his work in the West End and a Tony Award for his work on Broadway. He has directed several feature films that have been nominated for Best Director and/or Best Picture at the Academy Awards. These films are Billy Elliot (2000), The Hours (2002), The Reader (2008) and Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close (2011).
Daldry was born in Dorset, England, the son of bank manager Patrick Daldry and singer Cherry (née Thompson). The family moved to Taunton, Somerset, where his father died of cancer when Daldry was aged 14.
After this, Daldry joined a youth theatre group in Taunton, and also performed as Sandy Tyrell in Hay Fever for local amateur society Taunton Thespians and then aged 18 won a Royal Air Force scholarship to University of Sheffield to study English, where he became chairman of the Sheffield University Theatre Group.
After graduation, he spent a year travelling through Italy, where he became a clown's apprentice. Returning to Sheffield, he became an apprentice at the Crucible Theatre from 1985–1988. He then trained as an actor at East 15 Acting School, London.
Daldry began his career at the Sheffield Crucible with Artistic Director Clare Venables where he directed many productions. He also headed many productions at the Manchester Library Theatre, Liverpool Playhouse, Stratford East, Oxford Stage, Brighton and the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. He was also Artistic Director of the Royal Court Theatre from 1992–98, where he headed the £26 million development scheme. He was also Artistic Director of London's Gate Theatre (1989–92) and the Metro Theatre Company (1984–86). He is currently on the Board of the Young and Old Vic Theatres and remains an Associate Director of the Royal Court Theatre. He was the Cameron Mackintosh Visiting Professor of Contemporary Theatre for 2002 at St Catherine's College, Oxford. He won awards on Broadway as well as the West End.
Daldry made his feature film directorial debut in 2000 with Billy Elliot. His next film was The Hours, and it won Best Actress at the Academy Awards for Nicole Kidman. Recently, he directed a stage musical adaptation of Billy Elliot, and in 2009 his work on it earned him a Tony Award for Best Director of a Musical. He has also made a film version of The Reader, based on the book of the same name and starring Kate Winslet, David Kross and Ralph Fiennes. The film won Best Actress at the Academy Awards for Kate Winslet. He has received an Academy Award nomination for directing three of his five films.
Daldry was planning to direct a film adaptation of Michael Chabon's Pulitzer Prize-winning novel The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay in 2005. In the ensuing three years, the project was cancelled and reinitiated several times, and in late 2006 was partially cast with Natalie Portman and Tobey Maguire. According to Chabon, production then stalled due to "studio-politics kinds of reasons that I'm not privy to," and as of April 2007 remains inactive.
Daldry's fourth film was Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, an adaptation of the book of the same name written by Jonathan Safran Foer, starring newcomer Thomas Horn, Tom Hanks, Sandra Bullock and Max von Sydow. The screenplay was written by Eric Roth. The film received a nomination for Best Picture at the 84th Academy Awards and a nomination for von Sydow for Best Supporting Actor.
Although Daldry has been married since 2001 to American performance artist and magazine editor Lucy Sexton, with whom he has a daughter, Annabel Clare (born 2003), he describes himself simply as a gay man because people prefer it ("they don't like the confusion").
He was previously in a relationship with set designer Ian MacNeil for 13 years. They met at an outdoor production of Alice in Wonderland in Lancaster in 1988, and after settling in Camberwell, began collaborating on theatrical productions.
Detailed theatreography (up to 2003)
- The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists, Liverpool Playhouse, Liverpool, England, then Theatre Royale, Stratford, England, 1988
- An Inspector Calls, York Theatre Royal, 1988
- Judgement Day, Old Red Lion Theatre, London, 1989
- Figaro Gets Divorced, Gate Theatre, London, 1990
- Cutting Room, Royal Court Theatre Upstairs, London, 1990
- Our Man in Marzibah and Rousseau's Tale (double-bill), Gate Theatre, 1991
- Damned for Despair, Gate Theatre, 1991
- Jerker, Gate Theatre, 1991
- (With Annie Castledine) Pioneers in Ingolstadt, Gate Theatre, 1991
- (With Annie Castledine) Purgatory in Ingolstadt, Gate Theatre, 1991
- Manon Lescaut, Dublin Grand Opera, 1992
- An Inspector Calls, National Theatre Company, Lyttelton Theatre, London, 1992, then Royale Theatre, New York City, 1994–1995, *later Garrick Theatre, London, 1995
- Search and Destroy, Royal Court Theatre Upstairs, 1993
- Machinal, National Theatre Company, Lyttelton Theatre, 1993
- The Europeans, 1993
- The Kitchen, Royal Court Theatre, 1994
- The Editing Process, Royal Court Theatre, 1994
- Rat in the Skull, Duke of York's Theatre, London, 1995
- The Libertine, Royal Court Theatre, 1995
- The Man of Mode, Royal Court Theatre, 1995
- Body Talk, Royal Court Theatre, 1996
- This Is a Chair, in London International Festival of Theatre, London, 1997
- Via Dolorosa (solo show), Royal Court Theatre, 1998, then Booth Theatre, New York City, 1999
- Far Away, Royal Court Theatre, 2000, then New York Theatre Workshop, New York City, 2002–2003
- A Number, Jerwood Theatre Downstairs, Royal Court Theatre, 2002, then New York Theatre Workshop, 2002–2003
- Also directed productions of Huckleberry Finn and Of Mice and Men
Awards and nominations
- 1993: Laurence Olivier Award for Best Director of a Play – An Inspector Calls
- 1994: Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Director of a Play – An Inspector Calls
- 1994: Laurence Olivier Award for Best Director of a Play – Machinal
- 1994: Tony Award for Best Direction of a Play – An Inspector Calls
- 2000: BAFTA Award for Best British Film – Billy Elliot
- 2002: Vancouver Film Critics Circle Best Director – The Hours
- 2009: Tony Award for Best Direction of a Musical – Billy Elliot the Musical
- 2015: Rome Film Festival People's Choice Gala Award – Trash
- 2000: Academy Award for Best Director – Billy Elliot
- 2000: BAFTA Award Best Director – Billy Elliot
- 2001: César Award for Best Foreign Film – Billy Elliot
- 2002: Directors Guild of America Outstanding Directing – Motion Pictures – The Hours
- 2002: Golden Globe Award for Best Director – Motion Picture – The Hours
- 2002: Satellite Award for Best Director – The Hours
- 2002: Academy Award for Best Director – The Hours
- 2002: BAFTA Award for Best British Film – The Hours
- 2002: BAFTA Award for Best Director – The Hours
- 2004: César Award for Best Foreign Film – The Hours
- 2008: Academy Award for Best Director – The Reader
- 2008: BAFTA Award for Best Director – The Reader
- 2008: Golden Globe Award for Best Director of a Motion Picture – The Reader
- 2008: Satellite Award for Best Director – The Reader
- 2012: Academy Award for Best Picture – Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close
- 2015: BAFTA Award for Best Film Not in the English Language – Trash
- 2015: Tony Award for Best Direction of a Play – Skylight