D.J. Caruso

D.J. Caruso

Born: January 17, 1965
Age: 58
Birthplace: Norwalk, Connecticut, United States
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Daniel John Caruso, Jr. (/kəˈruːsoʊ/; born January 17, 1965) is an American film director, screenwriter, and producer. His work encompasses a variety of genres, including thriller (Disturbia, Taking Lives), drama (Standing Up), horror (The Disappointments Room), and action (I Am Number Four, xXx: Return of Xander Cage). He has also directed numerous episodes of television series such as The Shield, Over There, Smallville, and Dark Angel. The majority of his films fall into the thriller and action film genres.

Caruso was born in Norwalk, Connecticut, the son of Lorraine (Zullo) and Daniel John Caruso, who owned a salon, House of Beauty.[2] He is of Italian descent.[3]

Caruso graduated from Norwalk High School in 1983. He is a graduate of Pepperdine University in Malibu, California.[4][5]



Caruso began his career as a protege of director John Badham, acting as producer and second unit director on films like Point of No Return, Drop Zone, and Nick of Time. He directed multiple episodes of television series like High Incident and Beyond Belief: Fact or Fiction, in addition to two made-for-television films.

His feature film directorial debut as a director was The Salton Sea; a stylish 2002 crime thriller starring Val Kilmer and Vincent D'Onofrio that has since gained minor cult status. Two years later, Caruso directed the Angelina Jolie and Ethan Hawke-starring psychological thriller film Taking Lives. The film was released in theaters on March 16, 2004, but did not meet box office expectations, only grossing $65,470,529 from a $35 million budget. However, the film proved to be a success on home video, holding its place as the number one best-selling DVD for three straight weeks. Two for the Money was Caruso's next film which was considered "a well done sport thriller, but with too many details".[citation needed] The film was released on October 7, 2005, and was a moderate success, grossing $30,526,509 worldwide with a modest budget of $18 million. It was later released on DVD on January 17, 2006.

In 2007, Caruso was asked by Steven Spielberg to direct Disturbia. The movie was Caruso's first big hit, grossing over $117 million on a $20 million budget. It starred Shia LaBeouf, Sarah Roemer, David Morse, Aaron Yoo, and Carrie-Anne Moss. It was released April 13, 2007 in theaters and on DVD August 7.[6] Eagle Eye was Caruso's second collaboration with producer Spielberg and actor LaBeouf. It also starred Michelle Monaghan, Billy Bob Thornton, Rosario Dawson and was released in theaters September 26, 2008. Critical reactions were mixed to negative but, on its opening weekend the movie grossed $29.1 million in 3,510 theaters in the United States and Canada. As of 2017, it has grossed $201 million worldwide with a movie budget of $80 million.

He directed the YA novel adaptation I Am Number Four in 2011, which film grossed $161 million worldwide, but failed to build enough interest for an intended sequel. Two year later, he fulfilled a long-time passion project with the coming-of-age film Standing Up, the director's first family film. It is based on Brock Cole's novel, The Goats. The film stars Chandler Canterbury and Annalise Basso as two geeky children who embark on a journey of discovery and self-discovery after they are stripped naked and left stranded together on an island as part of a summer camp prank. Caruso began adapting the novel in the early nineties with then-partner Ken Aguado, who produced the film. Standing Up was produced for a small budget of $3 million and was released on August 16, 2013.

In August 2013, Caruso planned to direct the film adaptation of the comic Preacher.[7][8] Caruso was also working on a film titled Selling Time, a supernatural thriller potentially starring Will Smith, about a man who is given the unique opportunity to relive the worst day of his life, in exchange for seven years off his own life expectancy.[9] Both projects have since fallen through, with the former property being adapted into a hit television series aired on AMC.

He was a guest judge on the Fox reality television show On the Lot for the episode of May 28 and 29 in 2007. Caruso directed his first music video in 2007 for the song "Don't Make Me Wait" by This World Fair.[10] In 2009, he directed the music video for Airborne Toxic Event's song "Sometime Around Midnight".

On April 2, 2015, Caruso was hired to direct the as-of-yet untitled third entry in the G.I. Joe film series, with Aaron Berg writing the screenplay.[11][12] October 2015, actor and producer Vin Diesel had Caruso sign on as the director of xXx: Return of Xander Cage.[13] The film was debuted as the number one film in the world and made 347 million dollars worldwide. The sequel will shoot in 2018.

Personal life

Caruso married actress Holly Kuespert on July 6, 1990. They have five children: Brandon, Daniel, Sophia, Charlie and Sally.[14]



Year Title Director Producer Writer Other Notes
1991 The Hard Way N/A Yes N/A N/A As associate producer
1993 Point of No Return N/A Yes N/A Yes As associate producer and 2nd unit director
Another Stakeout N/A Yes N/A Yes As co-producer and 2nd unit director
1994 Drop Zone N/A Yes N/A Yes As producer and 2nd unit director
1995 Nick of Time N/A Yes N/A Yes As executive producer and 2nd unit director
1997 Cyclops, Baby Yes N/A N/A N/A Short film
2002 Crazy as Hell N/A Yes N/A N/A
The Salton Sea Yes N/A N/A N/A Feature film debut
2004 Taking Lives Yes N/A N/A N/A N/A
2005 Two for the Money Yes N/A N/A N/A N/A
2007 Disturbia Yes N/A N/A N/A N/A
2008 Eagle Eye Yes N/A N/A N/A N/A
2011 I Am Number Four Yes N/A N/A N/A N/A
2013 Standing Up Yes N/A Yes N/A N/A
2016 The Disappointments Room Yes N/A Yes N/A N/A
2017 xXx: Return of Xander Cage Yes N/A N/A N/A N/A
2020 G.I. Joe: Ever Vigilant Yes N/A N/A N/A N/A


Year Title Notes
1996 VR.5 1 episode
1996-97 High Incident 4 episodes
1997 Beyond Belief: Fact or Fiction 1 episode
1998 Black Cat Run Television film
Buddy Faro 1 episode
1999 Martial Law 1 episode
Mind Prey Television film
The Strip 1 episode
2001 Dark Angel 1 episode
Going to California 1 episode
2002 Robbery Homicide Division 2 episodes
Smallville 1 episode
2002-2006 The Shield 6 episodes
2005 Over There 1 episode
2011 Inside Alternate reality game
2014 Tin Man Television film

[ Source: Wikipedia ]

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