Frankfurt-born music video director Marcus Nispel leapt ahead of the pack at the tender age of 20, when he moved from Deutschland to the Big Apple in 1984, and founded Portfolio Artists' Network. Nispel helmed thousands of video promos and commercials for corporate giants -- everyone from Coca-Cola to Mercedes-Benz. He doubled up with music videos, and evinced a deft hand, eventually listing such multimillion-dollar pop/rock clients as Janet Jackson,Billy Joel, Cher and George Michael on his directorial resumé.
The curtain rose on Nispel's Hollywood career in 2002, when he inked a contract with Michael Bay to head up the remake of Tobe Hooper's Texas Chainsaw Massacre for New Line, starring Jessica Biel and Full Metal Jacket's R. Lee Ermey. Critics quite rightly excoriated the fall 2003 release (Roger Ebert called it a "geek show"), but the picture, shot on a shoestring nine-million-dollar budget, did astounding box office and drew millions of gore-hungry teens, earning many times the original cost. He then worked on the USA Pictures small-screen effort Frankenstein, the umpteenth adaptation of Mary Shelley's novel.
Nispel's sophomore big-screen effort in the director's chair, Pathfinder, demonstrated greater ambitiousness. An expensive, handsomely-produced period epic on the Vikings, remade from a 1987 Norwegian outing, the movie was released to little fanfare from either press or public in 2007.