Damien Chazelle

Actor / Writer

Birthdate – January 19, 1985 (39 Years Old)

Birthplace – Providence, Rhode Island, USA

Damien Chazelle (birthname: Damien Sayre Chazelle) is an ambitious writer-producer-director of mostly music-themed and dominated movies that mix romance with the outrageous excesses of show business. The Harvard graduate debuted with a charming indie musical shot in black-and-white, and a favorite of many film festivals including the Tribeca film festival and AFI Festival Los Angeles, Guy and Madeline on a Park Bench (2009), marking his first of several collaborations with composer (and Chazelle’s Harvard roommate and bandmate, Justin Hurwitz).

It took Chazelle another five years to make his second feature—the acclaimed Whiplash (2014). In between, he wrote or co-wrote two screenplays, one the horror entry, The Last Exorcism Part II (2013), and the classical music drama, Grand Piano (2013), starring Elijah Wood and John Cusack, and released by Paramount.

Whiplash marked Damien Chazelle’s breakthrough for those who hadn’t seen Guy and Madeline—first as a short film, winning top prizes at the Sundance film festival which helped seed funding for the feature, starring Miles Teller, J.K. Simmons (Oscar winner for Best Supporting Actor), and Paul Reiser; the movie earned Sundance’s Grand Jury Prize and Audience award, picked up three Oscars, (including Film Editing and Sound Mixing), and grossed $49 million worldwide on a $3.3 million budget. A J. J. Abrams-produced remake of 10 Cloverfield Lane (2016), was co-written by Chazelle (with Josh Campbell and Matt Stuecken) and starred Mary Elizabeth Winstead and John Goodman.

The same year marked Chazelle’s first big-budget Hollywood epic, La La Land (2016), starring Ryan Gosling, Emma Stone, John Legend, Rosemarie DeWitt, and J.K. Simmons, with a Hurwitz song score (for which Chazelle contributed lyrics), earning a remarkable 14 Oscar nominations (with Chazelle winning Best Director), and grossing a robust $447-plus million on a $30 million budget. Chazelle reunited with Gosling for the Neil Armstrong Apollo 11 adventure—marking quite a departure for the young filmmaker—First Man (2018), co-starring Claire Foy, Jason Clarke, Kyle Chandler, Corey Stoll, Christopher Abbott, and Ciarán Hinds, and earning an unimpressive $105.7 million gross on a $70 million budget.

For his fifth feature, Damien Chazelle returned to Los Angeles-based showbiz for his sprawling and raucous saga of Hollywood during the silent era, Babylon (2022), starring Brad Pitt, Margot Robbie, Diego Calva, Jean Smart, Jovan Adepo, Li Jun Li, and Tobey Maguire, but even with five Golden Globe nominations (including Best Picture—Musical or Comedy), the movie marked Chazelle’s first commercial bomb, earning a mere $15 million on a $78 million budget.

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Personal Details

Born in Providence, Rhode Island, Damien Chazelle was raised in Princeton, New Jersey by French-born father Bernard (a computer science professor at Princeton University) and Canadian-born mother Celia (a professor of medieval history at the College of New Jersey). Chazelle’s sister, Anna, is an actor. Raised Catholic, Chazelle was enrolled at a Hebrew school since his parents disliked the local Catholic school.

He attended Princeton High School, where he studied jazz and drumming in the school’s studio band (the basis for his debut feature, Whiplash). Chazelle pursued filmmaking studies in Visual and Environmental Studies at Harvard University, graduating with a B.A. degree in 2007. Chazelle’s first marriage was to producer Jasmine McGlade from 2010 to 2014, ending in divorce. His second marriage was to actor/producer Olivia Hamilton, in 2018; the couple has one son. Chazelle’s height is 5’ 9½”.  His estimated net worth is $20 million.


First Man

Producer(produced by) (2018)

La La Land

Writer (2016)

Some Facts About Damien Chazelle

Linguistic: Damien Chazelle is fluent in French.

Dealmaker: Chazelle signed a first-look deal with Paramount Pictures in December 2022 with his wife and producing partner, Olivia Hamilton.


Winner, Best Director, Academy Awards (2016); Two-time Nominee, Best Adapted Screenplay/Best Original Screenplay, Academy Awards (2015, 2017); Winner, David Lean Award for Direction, BAFTA Awards (2017); Winner, Best Director, Directors Guild of America Awards (2017); Two-time Winner, Best Director/Best Screenplay, Golden Globe Awards (2017); Winner, Vanguard Award, Palm Springs Film Festival Awards (2017); Two-time Winner, Best Director, Santa Barbara Film Festival (2015, 2017); Three-time Winner, Short Film Jury Prize/Grand Jury Prize/Audience Award, Sundance Film Festival Awards (2013-2014); Winner, Special Jury Prize, Torino Film Festival (2009); Winner, People’s Choice Award, Toronto International Film Festival Awards (2016); Two-time Nominee, Best Original Screenplay, Writers Guild of America Awards (2015, 2017).