March 20, 1962
St. Cloud, Minnesota, United States
Director, Screenwriter, Rock manager, Street performer
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Young American filmmaker came straight out of film school to direct his first feature, the low-budgeted actioner, "Catch Me if You Can" (1989). On the basis of that film and his script for "The Adventures of Huck Finn," Disney offered Sommers a "director's test," a two-scene $20,000 short with one day's filming. Impressed with the results, Disney allowed Sommers to direct his script for "Huck Finn" (1993) and offered him a two year production deal. He scripted the less successful western yarn "Gunmen" (1994), then attained solid critical and commercial success with his direction and co-scripting for the remake of "Rudyard Kipling's The Jungle Book" (1994) loosely based on the classic tale of a young boy raised in the wild.Sommers went on to help the murky thriller "Deep Rising" (1998) and had his first real box-office success at the helm of "The Mummy" (1999), a loose remake of the 1932 classic starring Brendan Fraser and Rachel Weisz. Although not quite as stunning as the films that inspired it ("Raiders of the Lost Ark" was a heavy influence) Sommers did redfine the mummy from the bandaged Boris Karloff image of film legend into Imhotep, a powerful and charismatic eternal-lived villain as played by Oded Fehr. Sommers regrouped his cast for an equally successful sequel, "The Mummy 2" (2001). That film also introduced the Sommers-created character of The Scorpion King, played by wrestler-turned-actor Duane "The Rock" Johnson, who while a villain in this film was launched into his own action franchise, "The Scorpion King" (2002), on which Sommers did uncredited screenplay doctoring. The writer-director's next major outing again called for him to breathe fresh life into Universal's stable of iconic horror characters (as he had for their Mummy property), revamping Dracula, Frankenstein's monster, the Wolfman and others for the disappointing, by-the-numbers big-budget action-thriller "Van Helsing" (2004), starring Hugh Jackman in the title role as Dracula's longtime human foe.