Doug Liman

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Doug Liman
Doug Liman 2011 Shankbone.JPG
Liman at the 2011 Tribeca Film Festival
Born Douglas Eric Liman[1]
(1965-07-24) July 24, 1965 (age 53)
New York City, New York, U.S.
Alma mater Brown University
Occupation Film director, producer
Years active 1994–present

Douglas Eric Liman (born July 24, 1965) is an American film director and producer. He is known for directing the films Swingers (1996), Go (1999), The Bourne Identity (2002), Mr. & Mrs. Smith (2005), Fair Game (2010), Edge of Tomorrow (2014), and American Made (2017).

Early and personal life[edit]

Liman was born to a Jewish family[2] in New York City, the son of Ellen (née Fogelson), a painter and writer, and Arthur L. Liman, a lawyer well known for his public service, which included serving as chief counsel for the Senate Iran-Contra hearings. He has two siblings, Emily and Lewis.[3]

Liman began making short films while still in junior high school and studied at International Center of Photography in New York City. While attending Brown University, he helped to co-found the student-run cable television station BTV and served as its first station manager. With the help of a major grant through his father's connections from the now-defunct CBS Foundation, he also co-founded the National Association of College Broadcasters (NACB), the first trade association geared to student-staffed radio and television stations, in 1988. Liman attended the graduate program at University of Southern California, where he was tapped to helm his first project in 1993, the comedy thriller Getting In/Student Body.[4]

Liman is an atheist.[5]


Liman was friends with Jon Favreau, who was then an aspiring actor and screenwriter. Favreau showed Liman a screenplay he had written, entitled Swingers, a comedy about struggling actors amid the L.A. club milieu. Favreau wanted to both act in and direct the film, but had been unable to raise money for it. Liman convinced Favreau that he, Liman, should instead direct it, and Liman was able to raise $200,000 from one of his father's clients for the film.[6] The film was made on the cheap, starring Favreau and his friends (Vince Vaughn, Ron Livingston, and Patrick Van Horn), and ultimately cost $250,000. the resulting film, Swingers, released in 1996, became a sleeper hit, earning $4.4 million. It also was a critical success, and jump-started the careers of the featured actors. Liman sold the film to Miramax for $5.5 million, and made most of the money from the sale.[6] Favreau got significantly less, and as a result refused to speak to Liman afterwards. They rekindled their friendship years later.[6]

Liman's next effort, Go (1999), tracked the events of one night through three different points of view as plot lines diverged and reconverged; Liman was also the film's cinematographer. The film made a profit at the box office grossing $28.4 million worldwide against a $6.5 million budget.

In 1999, Liman shot a commercial for Nike in which Tiger Woods, without letting the ball touch the ground, repeatedly bounced a ball on his club and then drove it into the distance.

Liman at the Cannes Film Festival, May 2010

Liman next directed the 2002 action thriller The Bourne Identity starring Matt Damon, an adaptation of the 1980 Robert Ludlum novel. The film that Liman delivered lacked sufficient action sequences to satisfy test groups of young males, so Universal Studios required him to shoot almost twenty minutes of replacement scenes. The Bourne Identity was a big success, earning over $200 million, and began a Bourne film franchise that has since included four additional films. Liman did not direct any Bourne films after the first one, but served as an executive producer for three of the four subsequent films (2004's The Bourne Supremacy, 2007's The Bourne Ultimatum and 2016's Jason Bourne).

Liman executive produced and directed the first two episodes ("Premiere" and "The Model Home") of the successful Fox prime time drama The O.C. (2003–2007). Liman produced and directed a series of comedy shorts for the Chrysler Film Project and Cannes Film Festival entitled Indie Is Great.

Liman also directed Mr. & Mrs. Smith (2005), a comedic thriller about an increasingly distant married couple, both secretly assassins, who are hired to kill each other. The film, his most commercially successful to date, is also well known for the off-screen romance that developed between stars Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie after making the film. In 2005, Liman signed on to direct the pilot episode of NBC's television series Heist, which is about a season-long attempt to rob three jewelry stores on Beverly Hills' swanky Rodeo Drive.

His film adaptation of Steven Gould's science fiction novel Jumper was released in 2008.[7]

In 2009, he co-founded the website which is geared towards fans of action movies and television, gaming, extreme sports and viral videos. He also maintains a blog on the site.

He directed 2010's Fair Game, about the Plame affair, which competed for the Palme d'Or at the 2010 Cannes Film Festival.[8]

In 2011, Liman directed and produced I Just Want My Pants Back, a television series that aired on MTV. He produces Covert Affairs and Suits, two original series on the USA Network. He directed the film adaptation of the Hiroshi Sakurazaka novel, All You Need is Kill, released as Edge of Tomorrow (2014), starring Tom Cruise. In 2017, he directed Aaron Taylor-Johnson and John Cena in the military thriller The Wall, and directed Cruise again, in the drama thriller American Made, a biopic of pilot Barry Seal.[9]

In August 2016, Liman signed on to direct Dark Universe, a film set within the DC Extended Universe and based on superhero team Justice League Dark after leaving the adaptation of Gambit.[10]

Most of his career has been associated with the production company, Hypnotic. He is co-owner with Dave Bartis, whom he met as an undergraduate at Brown University where they co-founded BTV and NACB.

Liman serves on the boards of the Legal Action Center, Symphony Space in New York City, and is actively involved in the Arthur Liman undergraduate fellowship program.



Year Film Director Producer Notes
1994 Getting In Yes No
1996 Swingers Yes No MTV Movie Award for Best New Filmmaker
1999 Go Yes No Nominated – Independent Spirit Award for Best Director
2002 The Bourne Identity Yes Yes
2004 Mail Order Wife No Yes
The Bourne Supremacy No Executive
2005 Mr. & Mrs. Smith Yes No
2007 The Bourne Ultimatum No Executive
The Killing Floor No Executive
2008 Jumper Yes No
2010 Fair Game Yes Yes Nominated – Palme d'Or
2014 Edge of Tomorrow Yes Executive Nominated – Saturn Award for Best Director
2016 Jason Bourne No Executive
2017 The Wall Yes No
American Made Yes No
2019 Chaos Walking Yes No Filming
TBA Live Die Repeat and Repeat Yes No Pre-production


Year(s) Series Director Creator/Showrunner Producer
2003–2004 The O.C. Yes No Executive
2010–2014 Covert Affairs No No Executive
2011–2012 I Just Want My Pants Back No No Executive
2011–present Suits No No Executive
2016 Captive No No Executive
2018 Impulse No No Executive


  1. ^ "Doug Liman". The Film Daily. Wid's Films and Film Folk Inc. 127: 37. 1965. 
  2. ^ "Fairness not just a game for director - Film". Jewish Journal. Retrieved 16 April 2015. 
  3. ^ "Doug Liman Biography (1965?-)". Retrieved 16 April 2015. 
  4. ^ Notable Alumni, USC School of Cinematic Arts Archived February 24, 2008, at the Wayback Machine..
  5. ^ Papamichael, Stella. "Calling the Shots: No.36: Doug Liman". BBC. Retrieved 23 March 2017. 
  6. ^ a b c "The Sellout Issues of 'The Bourne Identity' Director Doug Liman -- New York Magazine". Retrieved 16 April 2015. 
  7. ^ "Prized Director In Talks for 'All You Need Is Kill'". BloodyDisgusting. 
  8. ^ "Hollywood Reporter: Cannes Lineup". hollywoodreporter. Archived from the original on April 22, 2010. Retrieved 2010-04-15. 
  9. ^ Kit, Borys (November 12, 2015). "Doug Liman Near Deal to Direct Channing Tatum's 'Gambit'". The Hollywood Reporter. 
  10. ^ Kroll, Justin (August 24, 2016). "Doug Liman to Direct 'Dark Universe' for DC, Warner Bros. (EXCLUSIVE)". Variety. 

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