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Few filmmakers have struck the balance between art and commerce as brilliantly as Peter Weir. He's led the way, with spellbinding movies that make strong political statements, probe human behaviour and rarely play it safe. And while those films tend to have mass appeal, no one could ever accuse Peter Weir of selling out.
He's summoned career-defining performances from Mel Gibson, Robin Williams and Jim Carrey. And he's been nominated for six Oscars.
Growing up in Sydney, Australia he divided his time between snorkeling and reading comics. He worked for a bit with his dad in real estate, tried his hand at comedy and then dove into an Aussie film industry that barely existed at the time.
In 1981, Peter made Gallipoli - a devastating World War I film starring a then-unknown Gibson. It put him on the map and Peter was soon catapulted into the Hollywood Big League with Witness, starring Harrison Ford. Once in Hollywood, Peter maintained his search for truth. He encouraged Robin Williams to improv a vital scene in Dead Poets Society and predicted the rise of reality TV with The Truman Show.
Now in his 60s, Peter is as unpredictable as ever. His latest film is based on real-life events and follows a group of soldiers who escaped from a brutal Siberian gulag in 1940. It comes seven years since his last film - and is appropriately called The Way Back.