Lasse Hallström Biography

Director (1946–)
Director Lasse Hallström directed a number of music videos for ABBA before moving to television and film. His best-known movies include My Life as a Dog, What's Eating Gilbert Grape and The Cider House Rules.


Lasse Hallström was born on June 2, 1946, in Stockholm, Sweden. He directed music videos before moving to television, and his feature film directorial debut came in 1975. After making a number of Swedish films, Hallström gained international attention for My Life as a Dog. In 1991, he made his first U.S. feature, Once Around. He had more critical success with his second, What's Eating Gilbert Grape.

Early Life and Career

Lasse Hallström was born Lars Sven Hallström on June 2, 1946, in Stockholm, Sweden. Hallström, who directed his first short film at the age of 10, began his professional career in Swedish television. He directed a number of music videos, most notably for the Swedish pop phenomenon ABBA, before moving to full-length TV programs. Hallström's feature film directorial debut came in 1975 with A Guy and A Gal. In 1977, he wrote, produced and directed the well-rated documentary performance film ABBA: The Movie.

'My Life as a Dog' and Early Acclaim

After making a number of Swedish films, including Father to Be (1979), The Rooster (1981) and Happy We (1983), Hallström gained international recognition, including Academy Award nominations (best director and best adapted screenplay) for My Life as a Dog (1985), a film adaptation of Reider Jonsson's autobiographical novel about a 12-year-old boy growing up in an eccentric country village in the 1950s.

With the success of My Life as a Dog, Hallström became known for his sensitive directorial style as well as his particular knack for directing child actors. He went on to direct two films adapted from works by Astrid Lindgren (author of the classic Pippi Longstocking series), The Children of Noisy Village (1986) and More About the Children of Noisy Village (1987).

Debut U.S. Feature and 'What's Eating Gilbert Grape'

In 1991, Lasse Hallström made his debut American feature, Once Around, a quirky family drama starring Holly Hunter and Richard Dreyfuss. He had more critical success with his second American film, What's Eating Gilbert Grape, starring Johnny Depp as the title character and featuring an Oscar-nominated supporting turn from Leonardo DiCaprio as Gilbert's mentally handicapped brother.

In 1995, Hallström directed the moderate commercial hit Something to Talk About, starring Julia Roberts, Robert Duvall and Dennis Quaid.

'The Cider House Rules' and Other Recent Projects

After a four-year hiatus from filmmaking, Lasse Hallström returned with a film version of John Irving's best-selling novel The Cider House Rules (1999). The film would become Hallström's most acclaimed film since My Life as a Dog. Written for the screen by Irving himself, The Cider House Rules traces the journey of Homer Wells (played by Tobey Maguire), a young man who leaves the Maine orphanage where he grew up to search for his own true place in the world. The film earned seven Oscar nominations, including for best picture and best director, and won in the categories of best adapted screenplay (Irving) and best supporting actor (Michael Caine, who plays the head of the orphanage and Homer's surrogate father).

Hallström's next effort, the magical fable Chocolat (2000), also garnered several Oscar nods, including for best actress (Juliette Binoche), best adapted screenplay and best picture.

Hallström, who divides his time between the United States and Sweden, married Swedish-born actress Lena Olin in 1994. The couple has two children.

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