Francis Veber

Active - 1970 - 2010  |   Born - Jul 28, 1937   |   Genres - Comedy

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Biography by Rebecca Flint Marx

French screenwriter and director Francis Veber first made his name penning a number of farcical comedies during the '70s. The son of writers, Veber originally worked as a journalist, but soon dedicated himself solely to writing comedy sketches, stories, and plays. His first screenplay was for Pierre Mondy's Appellez-Moi Mathilde, a 1970 crime film. Veber had his first major success with his screenplay for Yves Robert's Le Grand Blond Avec Une Chassure Noire (1972), an extremely popular comedy of errors revolving around mistaken identity. Veber went on to do steady work throughout the decade, enjoying particular success for his collaborations with director Edouard Molinaro, which included L'Emmerdeur (1973) and the internationally acclaimed farce La Cage Aux Folles, for which Veber earned a Best Adapted Screenplay Oscar nomination.

Veber first branched out into directing in 1976 with the comedy drama Le Jouet, for which he also wrote the screenplay. The film, about a young boy who teaches his father a lesson by buying a human toy, was later remade in the U.S. under the name The Toy. After earning raves for his sophomore directorial effort, the detective comedy La Chèvre (1981), Veber had another of his films, Les Fugitifs (1986), remade in America, but this time, he was able to direct it. Unfortunately, the remake, Three Fugitives (1989), turned out to be a great critical and commercial disappointment.

Veber subsequently continued to work on both sides of the Atlantic as a screenwriter and director. In 1998, he had one of his greatest international successes to date with Le Dîner de Cons (The Dinner Game). Adapted from Veber's own long-running play of the same name, it was a spirited, witty farce that was enormously popular in France. Veber was nominated for a Best Director César for the film, and won a César for its screenplay.

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