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Hurd, Gale Anne

Entry updated 29 October 2021. Tagged: Film, People.

(1955-    ) US film producer who cut her teeth on Roger Corman's New World Pictures' exploitation movies; she was production manager on Battle beyond the Stars (1980) and coproduced the car-chase movie Smokey Bites the Dust (1981) with Corman. She came to prominence with the excellent low-budget independent film The Terminator (1984), whose screenplay was cowritten by her and her then husband James Cameron (also a graduate of the Corman school of low-budget film-making skills): both were in their twenties; he directed and she produced. This was sufficient to get them the high-status job of producing and directing Aliens (1986), which they did with panache. They next worked together on The Abyss (1989), whose screenplay (by Cameron) contained roman à clef elements in its story of the break-up of a marriage between two highflying professionals; they had separated personally by then, and to a degree professionally, although Hurd was billed as executive producer on Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991), then perhaps the most expensive film ever made. (The actual producer was B J Rack.) Hurd's expertise with genre movies was underwritten by two sf films she produced apart from Cameron, Alien Nation (1988) and Tremors (1990), the latter being an especially craftsmanlike work. Among the non-sf and marginal sf features she has produced are Bad Dreams (1988), horror; The Waterdance (1992), a drama about paraplegics; Raising Cain (1992), a confused thriller from her then-husband Brian de Palma, of some sf interest with its strange experiments in the Psychology of child-raising. Hurd returned to sf to produce two films directed by Martin Campbell (see Green Lantern [2011]), the Cthulhu Mythos television oddity Cast a Deadly Spell (1991) and the disappointing No Escape (1994), a future Prison movie set on a tropical island. Subsequent credits in the genre include Peter Hyams' mutant-Dinosaur rampage The Relic (1997); Asteroid blockbuster Armageddon (1998); the comic-book adaptation Virus (1999) about a maritime alien Invasion; teen Time Distortion adventure Clockstoppers (2002); the live-action version of Æon Flux (2005); and the Hulk and Punisher films from Marvel Comics properties, as well as Frank Darabont's Zombie series The Walking Dead for television. Although it is difficult to gauge the creative influence of producers as opposed to directors, Hurd's track record has been impressive across a wide range of subgenres and production values; most of her films (even the low-budget ones) are polished and look good, and she seems to have an affinity with sf subjects. [PN/NL]

Gale Anne Hurd

born Los Angeles, California: 25 October 1955


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