Mark L. Lester

Mark L. Lester (born November 26, 1946) is an American film director, screenwriter, and producer.[1] He is known as a prolific director of cult films including the disco musical Roller Boogie, the vigilante thriller film Class of 1984, the Stephen King-adaptation Firestarter (1984), the Arnold Schwarzenegger action film Commando (1985), and the action-comedy Armed and Dangerous (1986), starring John Candy, Eugene Levy, and Meg Ryan.

Mark L. Lester
Born (1946-11-26) November 26, 1946
OccupationFilm director, film producer, screenwriter
Notable work
Roller Boogie
Class of 1984
Commando
Armed and Dangerous
Poseidon Rex

Career

After his debut in 1970 with the film Twilight of the Mayas, Lester quickly became a prolific B-movie director, initially making his mark with a trio of road movies designed for the drive-in market, Steel Arena, Truck Stop Women, and Bobbie Jo and the Outlaw. In 1977, he directed the high-concept thriller Stunts, an early outing for New Line Cinema starring Robert Forster, Joanna Cassidy, and Richard Lynch with a score composed by Michael Kamen. Two years later, he jumped on the disco bandwagon with Roller Boogie starring Linda Blair. The film had a significantly higher budget then his previous films and was the first to be distributed by a major studio. While it received negative reviews upon its initial release, it has since gained cult status as a proverbial time capsule of the bygone Disco Era. to modest success. He then made the exploitation action crime-thriller Class of 1984, a film revolving around a violence in an inner-city school. The Canadian-made production, which featured an early appearance by Michael J. Fox, was controversial at the time of release, but has since gained cult status.

Lester entered the mainstream in 1984 with the Stephen King adaptation Firestarter, and had his biggest hit the following year with Commando, a big-budget Joel Silver-produced Arnold Schwarzenegger action film that grossed over $57 million worldwide. He also directed and produced his sole comedy, Armed and Dangerous starring John Candy, Eugene Levy and Meg Ryan in 1986. In 1990, he directed Class of 1999, a semi-sequel to Class of 1984 starring Malcolm McDowell, Pam Grier, and Stacy Keach. Then in 1991, he directed the cult classic Showdown in Little Tokyo starring Dolph Lundgren and Brandon Lee.

He also founded American World Pictures, an independent production and distribution company. Recent films include The Base, an action film; the thrillers Blowback and Hitman's Run; and for TV, Pterodactyl (produced for the Sci Fi Channel). In 2012, after getting a divorce from Dubovsky, he formed a new distribution company called Titan Global Entertainment.

In January 2013, almost 10 years after directing his last picture, Lester helmed the film Poseidon Rex on location in Belize. The production was disrupted briefly when its lead, Corin Nemec was severely injured during a boating accident while the Belizean Coast Guard was transporting the cast to set.[2] He was replaced by Charmed co-star, Brian Krause.[3]

Personal life

Lester married Dana Dubovsky, who he had two children with, Jason and Justin. The couple divorced in 2010. He also has a daughter, Janessa (James), who is a musician and singer-songwriter, from a prior relationship.

Filmography

Director

Year Title Director Producer Writer Notes
1971 Twilight of the Mayas Yes Yes No Directorial debut
1973 Steel Arena Yes Yes Yes
1974 Truck Stop Women Yes Yes Yes
1975 White House Madness Yes Yes No
1976 Bobbie Jo and the Outlaw Yes Yes No
1977 Stunts Yes No No
1979 Gold of the Amazon Women Yes No No Television film
Roller Boogie Yes No No
1982 Class of 1984 Yes Executive Yes
1984 Firestarter Yes No No
1985 Commando Yes No No
1986 Armed and Dangerous Yes No No
1990 Class of 1999 Yes Yes Story
1991 Showdown in Little Tokyo Yes Yes No
1993 Extreme Justice Yes No No
1995 Night of the Running Man Yes Yes No
1996 Public Enemies Yes Yes No Direct-to-video
1997 The Ex Yes Yes No
1998 Double Take Yes Yes No
Misbegotten Yes Yes No
1999 The Base Yes Yes No Direct-to-video
Hitman's Run Yes Yes No
2000 Blowback Yes Yes No
Sacrifice Yes Yes No Television films
The Base 2: Guilty as Charged Yes Yes No
2003 Betrayal Yes Yes No
Stealing Candy Yes Yes Story
White Rush Yes Yes No
2005 Pterodactyl Yes Yes No
2008 Yeti: Curse of the Snow Demon No Executive Story Directed by Paul Ziller
Television film
2010 Groupie Yes Executive No
2013 Poseidon Rex Yes Yes No
2014 Dragons of Camelot Yes Yes No
2020 Anomalous: the Birth Yes No No Pre-production

(Executive) Producer only

Year Title Producer Executive
Producer
Director Notes
1971 Tricia's Wedding Yes No Milton Miron Short film
1981 The Funhouse No Yes Tobe Hooper
2001 Devil's Prey Yes No Bradford May
Bad Karma No Yes John Hough
Instinct to Kill No Yes Gustavo Graef Marino
2002 Splised No Yes Gavin Wilding
2006 Day of Wrath No Yes Adrian Rudomin
2007 Wraiths of Roanoke Yes No Matt Codd Television film
2010 Beauty and the Beast Yes No David Lister
2011 Sinbad and the Minotaur Yes No Sinbad and the Minotaur Television films
Jabberwock Yes No Steven R. Monroe
2012 Sand Sharks Yes No Mark Atkins
Dragonwasps No Yes Joe Knee Television film
2013 Jurassic Attack No Yes Anthony Fankhauser
2015 Toxin No Yes Jason Dudek
2018 Social Animals Yes No Theresa Bennett
High Resolution Yes No Jason Lester
2019 Sleeping With My Student Yes No Tom Shell Television film
Killer Cheerleader Yes No TBA Pre-production

References

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