June 20, 1966
New York City, New York, United States
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The first feature for this Los Angeles-based screenwriter-director, "Fresh" (1994), was a gritty depiction of a 12-year-old Brooklyn drug runner. Yakin researched his script in the drug-ravaged communities of his native New York. The picture was generally well-received and projected its helmer into the forefront of young American independents. Yakin launched his career shortly after graduation from film school, moving West to pursue opportunities as a screenwriter. In L.A., he developed projects for United Artists, Warner Brothers and White Eagle Productions, Sylvester Stallone's production company. Yakin co-wrote an action flick, "The Punisher" (1989), for New World Pictures. Based on a popular Marvel Comics vigilante character, the film starred Dolph Lundgren and Louis Gossett Jr. His second co-writing credit was on "The Rookie" (1990), an underperforming cop picture co-produced and directed by Clint Eastwood, who also starred with Charlie Sheen.After the success of "Fresh," Yakin had several projects in development. After a three-year hiatus, he returned to the features writing and directing "A Price Above Rubies" (1998), starring Renee Zellweger as an Hasidic wife. In 2000 Yakin scored his first mainstream success as the director of "Remember the Titans," the inspired-by-true-events story from the early 1970s, centering around a newly appointed African-American football coach (Denzel Washington) struggling to create a team at a racially fractious, newly integrated high school. Mixing racial parables into a conventional sport film format, audiences found themselves rooting for tolerance as often as for touchdowns. Under Yakin's self-assured direction and fresh interpretation of familiar trappings, the film struck a chord with audiences and critics.After a three-year absence from the screen, Yakin next delivered the female bonding comedy "Uptown Girls" (2003) starring Brittany Murphy as a newly-broke socialite who grows up when she becomes the nanny for a precocious but uptight young girl (Dakota Fanning). He next served as executive producer Eli Roth's second film, "Hostel" (2006), a brutal horror flick about two American college buddies (Jay Hernandez and Derek Richardson) lured to an out-of-the-way hostel in a Slovakian town rumored to house desperate, but beautiful Eastern European women. Following their wrong heads, both Americans get trapped in a truly sinister situation that plunges them into the dark recesses of human nature.