William Todd Field was born in Pomona, California, and began acting after graduating from high school in Portland, Oregon, where he was raised. A budding jazz musician as well, he skipped college in favor of a move east to New York to study acting. Once there, he began performing with the Ark Theatre Company as both an actor and musician.
Field subsequently won a role in Woody Allen’s nostalgic Radio Days (1987). Then had an independent Spirit Award-nominated turn in’Victor Nunez (I)”s Sundance Film Festival Grand jury Prize-winner Ruby in Paradise (1993). He also starred in Nicole Holofcener’s_Walking and Talking (1996)_ which won the Grand Special Prize at the Deauville Film Festival. Other credits include Scott Ziehl’s_Broken Vessels (1998)_ in which Field starred and produced, and’Stanley Kubrick”s final masterpiece, Eyes Wide Shut (1999) in which he played the mysterious “Nick Nightingale”.
In 1999, Kevin Thomas of the Los Angeles Times wrote, “Field has a deceptive facade of all-American clean-cut looks that allows him to suggest a wide range of emotions and thoughts behind such a regular-guy appearance; in “Ruby in Paradise” he expressed such uncommon decency and intelligence you had to wonder how Ashley Judd’s hardscrabble Ruby could ever have considered letting him get away. In “Eyes Wide Shut” he’s the likable med school dropout turned saloon piano player, and in Broken Vessels he’s an increasingly raging sociopath. In all these roles Field has the precious gift of being able to surprise you and to command your attention on screen.”
However, it was precisely at this point in his career that Field decided to leave acting behind and try instead to make a name for himself as a writer/director.
His first film When I Was a Boy (1993) was selected by the Film Society of Lincoln Center as part of their New Directors/New Films series and was shown at the Museum of Modern Art.
His next film, Nonnie & Alex (1995) received both the Special Jury Award at the Sundance Film Festival and the Best Film prize at the Aspen Film Festival. The film was honored with a special citation from the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences and Field was honored with the Franklin J. Schaffner Award for Excellence from the AFI, one of the highest honors the institute ever bestows upon a filmmaker.
In 2001, Field made his feature writing/directing debut with In the Bedroom (2001), an intensely emotional portrayal of the repercussions of family tragedy on a New England couple. The film received five Academy Award nominations, three Golden Globe nominations, and Field was named both Screenwriter and Director of the year by the National Board of Review. Internationally acclaimed by critics, the film was named Best Picture of the Year by The New York Times, The New Yorker, The Wall Street Journal, New York Magazine, The New York Observer, and the Los Angeles Film Critics Association.
In 2006, Field co-wrote and directed Little Children (2006). The film, starring Kate Winslet and Patrick Wilson, won numerous awards from the nation’s top critics associations including writing awards for Field and Perrotta. The movie received three Golden Globe nominations including Best Picture of the Year, and was nominated for three Academy Awards.
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