Home Celebrities 31 Surprising Facts About Sam Mendes We Bet You Didn’t Know

31 Surprising Facts About Sam Mendes We Bet You Didn’t Know


Sam Mendes, known for his thought-provoking movies, and the innovative treatments of classic stage productions, has been giving his best to the entertainment industry for years. His works have earned him several accolades over the years, including the Academy Award. Here are some interesting facts about the British filmmaker that will blow your mind:

  1. As a way of British culture he is a big fan of cricket and taught cricket at Summer Field School, Oxford, UK., for a year, after leaving school. He is said to have incorporated the ideas of former England cricket captain Mike Brearly in his direction.
  2. He married his first wife Kate Winslet, an actress, in May 2003, on a whim while on holiday to Anguilla, a British overseas in Caribbean, and they have a son named Joe Alfie Winslet Mendes. They announced their separation in March 2010, due to an extra marital affair by Mendes, and eventually took divorce in 2011.
  3. After a failed marriage he dated Rebecca Hall, for about two years, before marrying, the trumpet player and one of Britain’s finest brass instrumentalists, Alison Balsomin January 2017. Their daughter, Phoebe, was born in September that year.
  4. Mendes was awarded the ‘Commander of the Order of British Empire,’ in the 2000 Queen’s Birthday Honor List for his service to drama. He was later awarded the ‘knight Bachelor of the Order of the British Empire,’ in the 2020 Queen’s New Year’s Honors List.
  5. Samuel Alexander Mendes was born on August 1, 1965, in Reading, England, UK to Portuguese-Trinidadian English, James Peter Mendes, a retired university lecturer and Valerie Helene Mendes, a children’s book author.
  6. As a child he was difficult, unstable, emotional and constantly crying. His mother was undergoing psychiatric treatment and he spent his childhood as his mother’s constant companion.
  7. Mendes was noted as ‘brilliant schoolboy cricketer,’ by Wisden Cricketer’s Almanack. He also captained his school cricket team and on the tour of West Indies when asked to state his ambitions, for the program bios, he wrote ‘To be remembered.’
  8. After his parents divorced he moved to Primrose Hill, North London, along with his mother, where he attended Primrose Hill Primary School, before moving over to Magdalen College School, in Oxford. He later graduated from ‘Peterhouse,’ Cambridge, with first-class honors in English.
  9. On completing his graduation in 1987, he found work as assistant director at the Chichester Festival Theatre and made his professional directing debut with Anton Chekhov plays, ‘The Bear,’ and ‘The Proposal.’
  10. On the New Year’s Day, 1990, he signed a contract to redesign the Donmar Wearhouse, a not-for profit theatre at Covent Garden, London. He was appointed as an artistic director and he spent two years overseeing its transformation into one of the fashionable playhouse in London, before its premier of Stephen Sondheim’s Assassins, in 1992.
  11. During his shooting of 1999 ‘American Beauty,’ child representative was on the sets, as Thora Birch, who played Jane Burnham, was barely 17 years-old and her parents approval were taken for brief topless scene in the movie.
  12. Though Mendes storyboarded extensively, he was so dissatisfied with his first three days of filming American Beauty, that he obtained permission from DreamWorks to reshoot the scenes. He said, he started with a wrong scene, wrong actor, bad shot, bad costume, and badly composed, were all his fault.
  13. The ‘American Beauty,’ his directorial debut feature film, considered the best film of 1999 by the American press, was well received by critics and audiences. The film won Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor, Best Original Screenplay, and Best Cinematography, at the 72nd Academy Awards, among many other awards.
  14. Following the success of American Beauty, Mendes was flooded with top scripts including ‘A Beautiful Mind,’ ‘K-Pax,’ ‘The Shipping News,’ and he chose ‘Road to Perdition,’ over others, for it was a film of few words. There are only six lines of dialogue in the final twenty minutes of the film.
  15. The film Road Perdition, was nominated for six Academy Awards and went on to win Best Cinematography for Conrad L. Hall, posthumously. Mendes has the distinction of his first two films being nominated for more than six Academy Awards.
  16. After moving to New York with his then wife Kate Winslet in 2003, he concentrated on rearing their son, Joe, and Winslet’s daughter Mia, from first marriage, for the next six years. He had couple of Broadway productions of ‘Gypsy,’ and David Hare’s ‘The Vertical Hour,’ apart from two movies to work with.
  17. In 2003, Mendes along with Pippa Harris, and Caro Newling, formed a British film, television and theatre production company, ‘Neal Street Productions.’ The company went on to produce couple of award winning projects such as, ‘Revolutionary Road,’ ‘Stuart: A Life Backwards,’ ‘Penny Dreadful,’ and ‘Call the Midwife.’
  18. On March 20, 2005, he was honored with a ‘Lifetime Achievement Award,’ from the Directors Guild of Great Britain, at the annual award ceremony at the Curzon Mayfair. He said, “I feel very undeserving. I feel the award is a bank loan, which I will take out and pay back in 20 years.”
  19. The biographical war film ‘Jarhead,’ in 2005, received mixed reviews and was a box-office disappointment, despite for its unique portrayal of Gulf War Marines who battled boredom and isolation rather than enemy combatants. Mendes used real human and dog feces, where Swofford is shown burning the latrines, to make Jake Gyllenhall’s reaction realistic.
  20. Mendes directed his then wife, Kate Winslet and Leonardo DiCaprio, in the romantic film ‘Revolutionary Road,’ in 2008. He said it was awkward to direct his own wife in a sex scene and opted to watch the monitor from another room.
  21. Among many nominations for various awards, Mendes was nominated for the Best Director-Motion Picture category at the 66th Golden Globe Awards. The film was on the several critics’ top ten lists of the best film of 2008, and had the honor of being nominated for four BAFTAs and three Academy Awards.
  22. The comedy drama film of 2009 ‘Away We Go,’ has many first to his name. It is his first film not to have a bittersweet ending where a pivotal character dies at the end and also running at 98 minutes, this is Mendes’ shortest film to date.
  23. The film Away We Go, is the first studio production to adopt green filmmaking initiatives, aimed to reduce Co2 emission. They used various bins for recyclable materials, used ceramic and washed dishes and also vehicles on the set used biodiesel fuel.
  24. Mendes directed first of his two spy film of James Bond series, ‘Skyfall,’ in 2012, as his first non-R-rated movie, with a rating of PG-13. The film became the highest-grossing film in the UK, and also the first film to gross more than £100 million in UK.
  25. As the patron of the Intelligence Services, H.R.H. Prince Charles had the Royal World Premier of the movie Skyfall, on October 23, 2012, at the Royal Albert Hall. The Gala Charity Premier Benefit aided the support of former and current serving members of Britain’s three intelligence agencies.
  26. In 2015, with his second bond movie Spectre, Mendes, set out to rediscover S.P.E.C.T.R.E., and the super villain, setting him up again for the next generation. He populated the MI6 with a whole new generation of people, a new M, a new Moneypenny, and a new Q.
  27. Released in India, the film Spectre was subjected to Mumbai based ‘Central Board of Film Certification.’ According to ‘The Times of India,’ they censored two of the movie’s kissing scenes, also replaced some inappropriate words such as ‘asshole’ with ‘idiot,’ ‘bastard’ with ‘bighead,’ and ‘balls’ with ‘cats.’
  28. The film 1917, released in late 2019, was inspired by Mendes’s grandfather’s experience in World War I, as a messenger for the British on the Western Front. This movie is Mendes’s first official writing credit, which many critics described it as ‘a visceral experience and visual masterclass,’ and a ‘mind-bogging technical achievement.’
  29. Mendes won Best Motion Picture and Best Director award from ‘Golden Globe Awards,’ and from the ‘British Academy Film Awards,’ for the film 1917. The film received ten nominations at the ‘92nd Academy Awards, winning three including Best Sound Mixing, which was presented for the last time.
  30. Mendes doesn’t like to act, but he has to his credit two TV series as an actor. For the fifty plus stage productions and eight feature films he has directed, he has collected forty-two awards out of sixty-three nominations.
  31. Sam Mendes Net Worth: $30 Million
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