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How many directors can boast that they've made the highest grossing horror movie of all time? Or directed one of the best car chase scenes in the history of the movies? Never mind saved a man from death row? Well, legendary film director William Friedkin can.
For over 40 years, this auteur has shamelessly infused genre films with substance...asking big questions like: where's the line between good and evil? What's the nature of religious faith? Does evil lurk in all of us? Billy Friedkin grew up poor in Chicago, but watching movies was his escape, and 'Citizen Kane' his obsession.
He got a job in the mail room of a TV station, and within two years worked his way onto the directing floor. One of his early films, a doc called 'The People vs. Paul Crump' saved an innocent man from death row. After that, it wasn't long before he won the Oscar for 'Best Director'. His movie 'The French Connection' was radical: a gritty police drama that looked like a doc, and showed "good guys" who were as vile and corrupt as the "bad guys". It won the 1972 Oscar for 'Best Picture'.
Next came 'The Exorcist' (and we don't need to tell you what a head-spinning success it was - and still is). After that, Friedkin's career slowed down... but he came back to critical acclaim with 'To Live and Die in L.A', and 'Bug'. Now he's got a twisted and funny thriller, 'Killer Joe', playing at the Toronto International Film Festival, that stars Matthew McConaughey, Emile Hirsch & Juno Temple. Trust me - it's a bloody mix of mayhem, sex, and betrayal. It's Billy Friedkin at his best.