Family & Companions
Refused admission to a variety of film schools, writer-director Adam Rifkin moved to Los Angeles to try his luck amidst the professional ranks of filmmaking. Struggling to make ends meet as a cartoonist for greeting-card companies and local publications, he finally attracted the attention of youthful producer Brad Wyman with his script for the decidedly off-beat "The Dark Backward" (1991), about a failing comedian whose career takes off when he grows a third arm out of his back, which would eventually become his first feature to get a theatrical release. Prior to directing it, he wrote and helmed "Never on Tuesday" and "Tale of Two Sisters" (both 1989), working with actors like Charlie Sheen, Peter Berg, Nicolas Cage and Claudia Christian, among others, and receiving praise for his handling of varied film techniques, though neither film had a prayer of attracting anything but a cult audience. Reteaming with Sheen, writer-director Rifkin proved with "The Chase" (1994) that he was not just about circus freaks, and TV offered him the chance to work in the genres of sci-fi (as supervising producer on USA Network's "The Swamp Thing" 1990-93) and horror (as creator and co-executive producer of ABC's "Bone Chillers" 1996-97).
Rifkin's perseverance finally paid off when his thirtieth spec script, "Mouse Hunt" (1997), became not only his first one sold to a major studio (DreamWorks) but also that studio's first $100 million hit. On the strength of that success, DreamWorks' Steven Spielberg then entrusted him with the screenplay (although he did not receive sole screenwriting credit) for Joe Dante's "Small Soldiers" (1998), which combined live-action with computer animation. He wrote and directed "Denial" (1998), a film "about infidelity and hypocrisy" starring Jason Alexander, in which he gave himself arguably the juiciest role as a menacingly geeky ne'er-do-well with a penchant for morbidly obese women and for picking fights with anyone who stares at them. One of Rifkin's major disappointments was losing the sequel of "Planet of the Apes," which he had been developing for years, to Oliver Stone (since abandoned), but he could take solace in a three-picture directing deal with DreamWorks. Rifkin also polished the script and helmed "Detroit Rock City" (1999), about a group of kids trying to score tickets to a concert by the rock band KISS.
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Film Production - Unit (Feature Film)
Special Thanks (Feature Film)
Misc. Crew (Feature Film)
Director (TV Mini-Series)
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Feature directing debut, "Never on Tuesday," a straight-to-video film with Claudia Christian, Charlie Sheen and Judd Nelson, among others; also scripted
Wrote and directed second film "Tale of Two Women" featuring Christian and Valerie Breiman, with narration and poetry by Charlie Sheen
Acted in Charles Winkler's "Disturbed"
Was supervising producer of USA Network's sci-fi series "The Swamp Thing"
Wrote and directed "The Dark Backward," which starred Nelson as a comedian going nowhere until a third arm mysteriously grows out of his back
Helmed "The Nutty Nut" (released in Germany), did not script; cast included Traci Lords, Peter Lupus and Vince Edwards
Reteamed (as writer-director) with Sheen for "The Chase"
Hired to direct Pamela Anderson Lee in "Barb Wire"; left project over creative differences after one week of filming
First feature producing credit, Valerie Breiman's "Going Overboard"; also served as second unit director
Created and co-executive produced ABC horror series "Bone Chillers"
Wrote script for "Mouse Hunt," the first $100 million hit for the new movie studio DreamWorks
Contributed to the script of Joe Dante's "Small Soldiers"
Wrote, directed and acted in "Denial/All About Sex"
Helmed and re-wrote "Detroit Rock City" about four teens trying to get into a sold-out KISS concert in 1978
Joined with publisher/producer Audrey Kelly to publish "Hollywood's greatest unproduced screenplays" in book form
Co-directed (with Tony Markes) the mockumentary "Welcome to Hollywood" (lensed 1997)
Helmed "Without Charlie" starring Judy Greer
Helmed "Night at the Golden Eagle" a drama starring Natasha Lyonne
Directed and starred as a philosophical caveman in the comedy "Homo Erectus"
Co-penned the live-action version of the classic cartoon "Underdog"
Wrote and directed the independent feature, "Look"; film was shot entirely from the point of view of the security cameras and follows several interweaving, storylines over the course of a random week in a random city