Sharon Knolle Freelance Writer

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Published in Variety, Jan. 15, 2002

Director short takes
Helmers elaborate on myriad approaches


Ron Howard, one of the few helmers to win a Directors Guild award (for 1995's "Apollo 13") but never be nominated for an Oscar, was attracted to "A Beautiful Mind," about Nobel Prize-winning mathematician John Nash, due to a number of key elements: "I thought that it was very unusual to see a screenplay that could work well as a strong, compelling, involving drama and truly have something original to say," says the actor-turned-filmmaker. "I also felt that I was going to be challenged in exciting ways that I hadn't been before, maybe ever. Thirdly, there's nothing I like better than directing good actors in complicated and interesting scenes and the script is built on those kinds of scenes.

"John Nash's mind, which is powerful enough and unique enough to lead him to these complicated math insights, is the same mind that turns on him and threatens to destroy him from within. It sort of shatters that thin connection between genius and madness.

"I think that cinematically, I was trying to draw the audience inside John Nash's mind in a complicated enough way that the audience goes on the journey with him without being blatant about it or having the audience be aware of any kind of directorial manipulation. Without the film ever being a complicated logistical undertaking, it was the most challenging movie that I've ever worked on."

— Sharon Knolle

2002 Cahners Business Information 2002 Variety, Inc.