|Birth Day:||March 19, 1963|
|Birth Place:||Detroit, Michigan, United States|
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In 1993, he returned to Brigham Young University to premiere his play In the Company of Men, for which he received an award from the Association for Mormon Letters. He taught drama and film at IPFW in Fort Wayne, Indiana in the early 1990s where he adapted and filmed the play, shot over two weeks and costing $25,000, beginning his career as a film director. The film won the Filmmakers Trophy at the Sundance Film Festival, and major awards and nominations at the Deauville Film Festival, the Independent Spirit Awards, the Thessaloniki Film Festival, the Society of Texas Film Critics Awards and the New York Film Critics Circle.
His play Bash: Latter-Day Plays is a set of three short plays (Iphigenia in Orem, A Gaggle of Saints, and Medea Redux) depicting essentially good Latter-day Saints doing disturbing and violent things. It ran Off-Broadway at the Douglas Fairbanks Theatre in 1999. Medea Redux is a one-person performance by Calista Flockhart. This play resulted in his being disfellowshipped from the LDS Church (i.e., losing some privileges of church membership without being excommunicated). He has since formally left the LDS Church.
In 2001, LaBute wrote and directed the play The Shape of Things, which premièred in London, featuring film actors Paul Rudd and Rachel Weisz. It was turned into a film in 2003 with the same cast and director. Set in a small university town in the American Midwest, it focuses on four young students who become emotionally and romantically involved with each other, questioning the nature of art and the lengths to which people will go for love. Weisz's character manipulates Rudd's character into changing everything about himself and discarding his friends in order to become more attractive to her. She even pretends to fall in love with him, prompting an offer of marriage, whereupon she cruelly exposes and humiliates him before an audience, announcing that he has simply been an "art project" for her MFA thesis.
LaBute's 2002 play The Mercy Seat was a theatrical response to the September 11, 2001 attacks. Set on September 12, it concerns a man who worked at the World Trade Center but was away from the office during the infamous 2001 terrorist attack – with his mistress. Expecting that his family believes that he was killed in the towers' collapse, he contemplates using the tragedy to run away and start a new life with his lover. Starring Liev Schreiber and Sigourney Weaver, the play was a commercial and critical success. While hesitant to term The Mercy Seat "political theater", Labute said, "I refer to this play in the printed introduction as a kind of emotional terrorism that we wage on those we profess to love." He dedicated this edition to David Hare, in response to Hare's "straightforward, thoughtful, probing work".
Critics have responded to his plays as having a misanthropic tone. Rob Weinert-Kendt in The Village Voice referred to LaBute as "American theater's reigning misanthrope". The New York Times said that critics labeled him a misanthrope on the release of his film Your Friends & Neighbors because of the film's strong misanthropic plot and characters. Britain's Independent newspaper in May 2008 dubbed him "America's misanthrope par excellence". Citing the misanthropic tone of the plot in the films, In the Company of Men, Your Friends & Neighbors and The Shape of Things, film critic Daniel Kimmel identified a pattern running through LaBute's work of being that the unlikeable, main antagonists of those three films end up getting away with their lying, scheming and mid-deeds, coming out on top of all the other characters as the real winners of those stories by quoting: "Neil LaBute is a misanthrope who assumes that only callous and evil people, who use and abuse others, can survive in this world." Critics labeled him a misogynist after the release of In the Company of Men.
His next play, reasons to be pretty, played Off-Broadway from May 14 to July 5, 2008, in a production by MCC Theater at the Lucille Lortel Theatre. It went on Broadway in 2009, with previews at the Lyceum Theatre beginning 13 March, and its opening on 2 April. The play was nominated for three 2009 Tony Awards, including Best Play, Best Leading Actor in a Play (Thomas Sadoski), and Best Featured Actress in a Play (Marin Ireland), but did not win in any category. The production's final performance was on June 14. In March 2013, the play was mounted at the San Francisco Playhouse.
The Break of Noon premiered Off-Broadway at the Lucille Lortel Theatre in an MCC Theater production on October 28, 2010 (previews), running to December 22, 2010. The play then opened in 2011 in Los Angeles at the Geffen Theater, again directed by Jo Bonney, with 25 January preview and opening on February 2. It ran through March 6. It featured Tracee Chimo, David Duchovny, John Earl Jelks, and Amanda Peet.
LaBute's interest in the film industry came with a viewing of The Soft Skin (La Peau Douce 1964), said the director to Robert K. Elder in a 2011 interview for The Film That Changed My Life.
In 2012 Labute joined the Chicago-based storefront theatre company, Profiles Theatre as a Resident Artist.
2013 marked the year that "Some Girls," directed by Daisy von Scherler Mayer, came out. The screenplay was written by Labute and was adapted from Labute's own 2005 play. In an interview with Screen Comment's Sam Weisberg, he said: "I have had a lot of people direct my material for the theater, but I haven't had anyone do my work on film. I was excited by what would be brought to it. It was great to have someone else in there that you could trust visually and intellectually and emotionally to make something that was respectful of the material but also creative."
In 2013, LaBute was named one of the winners of the American Academy of Arts and Letters' Arts and Letters Awards in Literature.
His play, The Way We Get By, opened Off-Broadway at the Second Stage Theatre on May 19, 2015, starring Amanda Seyfried and Thomas Sadoski, with direction by Leigh Silverman.
In August 2016, the Utah Shakespeare Festival produced a preview of LaBute's play, How to Fight Loneliness in Cedar City, Utah, and announced its intention to stage the play during its 2017 summer season.
In February 2018, MCC Theater terminated its relationship with him ending his place as their playwright-in-residence and their plans to produce his next play Reasons to Be Pretty Happy in the summer.
In September 2018, it was announced that Netflix had given order for the production of the science fiction miniseries The I-Land. LaBute is credited as the showrunner and executive producer of the miniseries. The miniseries premiered on September 12, 2019.
Currently, Neil LaBute is 60 years, 0 months and 10 days old. Neil LaBute will celebrate 61st birthday on a Tuesday 19th of March 2024.
Find out about Neil LaBute birthday activities in timeline view here.