A well-read screenwriter/director with a strong hand for creating tense, nail-biting suspense,Jonathan Mostow's personal habits may serve as a humorous contrast to the keyed-up energy that he brings to the screen. A self-described "excellent procrastinator" with a healthy nocturnal creative streak, Mostow often researches projects under the lazy guise of late-night net surfing and two dollar submarine boat tours.
Raised in Woodbridge, CT, in a family of academics, a career in film seemed unlikely to the Harvard educated scholar. Though he made the obligatory documentaries and exploding-eyeball horror films common among college filmmakers, Mostow assumed that upon graduation his creative filmmaking days would draw to a close. Moving to L.A. with little more than determination, persistence, and a strong letter writing campaign, one of Mostow's literary queries eventually caught the attention of then-Paramount head Michael Eisner, who called the young hopeful in for a meeting. Though his meeting didn't serve as an immediate career booster, Mostow soon found work in the production of industrial films and briefly with Roger Corman before directing his first feature, Beverly Hills Bodysnatchers (1989). Soon following Bodysnatchers with the Taxi Driver/Top Gun hybrid Flight of the Black Angel (1991), studios began to pay attention to the young talent who seemed to have a knack for stretching a small budget.
Playing it cautiously in order to ward off the blink-and-miss-them trend of young filmmakers who hastily snatch up sub-par projects in the name of gaining credit, Mostow would wait seven years before returning with Kurt Russell and a budget in Breakdown (1997). A terse Deliverance-tinged tale of a husband's frantic search for his kidnapped wife, Breakdown earned Mostow credit for his abilities to create believable and realistic suspense. Mostow continued his drive into thriller territory in 2000, this time against a historical backdrop, in U-571. The claustrophobic World War II submarine tale of a crew's search for a secret coding transmitter that could give the allies the upper hand earned kudos for its strong cast and edge of the seat depth-charge scenes.