Actor-producer-director Griffin Dunne has the distinction of having starred in two 1980s cult favorites: as Jack Goodman in John Landis’ monster movie An American Werewolf in London (1981), and as Tommy Kelly in Martin Scorsese’s black comedy After Hours (1985)—produced with partner Amy Robinson through their company Double Play Productions. He moved to directing with “The Duke of Groove” (1996), which earned an Oscar nomination for short subject, and made his feature debut with Addicted to Love (1997). Other Double Play productions include Running on Empty (1988), White Palace (1990) and Once Around (1991), which was the first Hollywood feature directed by Swedish director Lasse Hallström.
Dunne was a surprise guest at Miami International Film Festival’s (MiamiFF) 30th edition, and presented Hallström with the Festival’s prestigious 2013 Career Achievement Tribute award inside the Olympia Theater, the same theater and Festival that launched Hallström’s career with My Life as a Dog (Mitt liv som hund) 26 years ago. Hallström’s latest film, The Hundred-Foot Journey, produced by Steven Spielberg and Oprah Winfrey, starring Helen Mirren, is dubbed “the biggest feast of the summer,” and opens nationwide Friday, August 8th.
A few years ago, following numerous producing and directing projects (most recently TV series such as “The Good Wife”) Dunne was at a crossroads. His adult daughter Hannah had moved out, and his father, former Hollywood producer turned bestselling writer Dominick Dunne, had recently died. Griffin returned to his first love: acting. In a recent piece by Susan King, entertainment writer at the Los Angeles Times, Griffin Dunne said, “nothing feels like it comes easy” in life, he discovered it has been “really easy” to return to acting.”
Dunne delivers regardless of the film genre, year, or character, as evidenced by his most recent roles which include an ebullient collection-agency boss in MiamiFF 31’s Awards Night film Rob the Mob (2014), by Raymond De Felitta; a doctor who’s exploring unconventional possibilities, including drugs not approved by the FDA in triple Oscar-winner Dallas Buyers Club (2013), by Jean-Marc Vallée; and a dad who drags his family on a Lewis and Clark re-enactment trip in the indie comedy-drama The Discoverers (2012), by Justin Schwarz. Featured in MiamiFF 30’s America the Beautiful program, The Discoverers makes its commercial debut in Miami on Friday, August 8 at AMC Sunset Place. — Tatyana Chiocchetti