July 8, 1963
Bronx, New York, United States
Director, Screenwriter, Cameraman, Producer, Photographer's assistant, Newspaper intern, Photojournalist
Michael Cuesta's Wife
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Producer and director Michael Cuesta was no stranger to characters that were dark and sometimes twisted. Having cut his teeth with the independent film ?L.I.E.? (2001), a sympathetic portrayal of a pedophile, he went on to write and direct such television shows as ?Six Feet Under? (HBO, 2001-05) and ?Dexter? (Showtime, 2006-2013). Both shows looked closely at death and both brought him to the attention of the powers that be at CBS. Born and raised in New York City, Cuesta was always interested in the world of film. He majored in photography at The School of Visual Arts in Manhattan, earning his Bachelor of Fine Arts in 1985. After having paid his dues honing his skills as a tabletop director and photographer, he and his brother Gerald wrote and Michael directed their first film, ?L.I.E.?, which went on to win 22 awards and another 16 nominations including the Grand Jury Award at Sundance. The film was to prove pivotal to his career because Alan Ball, showrunner for HBO's ?Six Feet Under,? saw the film at a festival the same week he was looking for a new director for the show. Cuesta came on to direct the season pilot and several more episodes between 2002 and 2005. When producers were looking for a director for the new dark series ?Dexter,? Cuesta came to mind immediately. Dark with a touch of ironic humor seemed to be his forte, and it was an original enough one to bring him projects on a regular basis. After leaving ?Dexter,? Cuesta took on several small film projects and a television pilot or two. Then in 2010 he and his brother Gerald got together again to co-write and direct an indie film that was close to their hearts. ?Roadie? is the story of a high school reunion and a roadie for Blue Oyster Cult who finds himself out of work after decades on the road with the band. Fans of the band, the Cuesta brothers found the film an exercise in exploring the themes of identity and fame. But he found he couldn't stay away from the small screen for long and in 2012 he signed a deal with CBS Studios to direct several pilots, including ?Elementary? (CBS, 2012- )the highly successful re-imagining of the legendary detective Sherlock Holmes in a modern New York setting. It was the same year that he took on directing ?Homeland? (2011 - ) for Showtime. The next few years would be busy ones for Cuesta as he wrote, directed and produced across a wide spectrum of television pilots, episodes and specials. He returned to the big screen with the tense drama "Kill the Messenger" (2014), starring Jeremy Renner as a real-life reporter who blows open a major international story in the 1980s.