The Hughes Brothers Directorial Duo

They are one of cinema's most daring and successful directorial duos. Known for visceral and violent film making, they have used cinema to explore the slum life of African Americans in their cult classics, such as "Menace II Society" and "Dead Presidents". Join us at as we take a look at the fascinating career of The Hughes Brothers. From their earliest work on music videos, to their film adaptation of the mature graphic novel "From Hell", and their current post-apocalyptic film epic "The Book of Eli", which marks their first theatrical film project following a nine year absence.

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The Hughes Brothers Profile

They’re best known for as a directing duo with a preference for creating visceral and violent films, Welcome to and today we’re taking a look at the career of the Hughes Brothers.

Albert and Allen Hughes are fraternal twin brothers born 9 minutes apart on April 1st, 1972 in Detroit Michigan. Their parents divorced when they were infants, after-which they lived with their mother who supported their film ambitions by giving them a video camera when they were just twelve years old. The twins spent much of their youth making short films together before dropping out of high school to direct music videos for artists such as Tupac Shakur.

At only 20 years old the brothers managed to produce their first theatrical feature, 1993’s “Menace II Society”. The film premiered at the Cannes Film Festival and portrayed the lives of poor African American youth. It became a box office success, and receiving overwhelming critical appraise despite its frequent scenes of violence, profanity and depictions of drug use.

In 1995, the duo followed-up with their film “Dead Presidents”, another equally powerful depiction of black underclass society. The drama chronicled the life of an African American boy’s journey from high school graduate to neglected Vietnam veteran, who found himself in the slums and forced to pursue a life of crime.

1999 saw the Hughes twins direct the documentary “American Pimp”, a look into the pimp subculture of the United States. The film drew heavily on interviews with actual pimps, which were separated by clips from several blaxploitation films.

The Brothers spent the next two years working on smaller projects, such as several anti-gun public service announcements before taking a departure from their usual subject matter with 2001’s “From Hell”, a film adaptation of Alan Moore’s fictional graphic novel focused on the infamous murderer Jack the Ripper. The film received much attention due to its casting of Johnny Depp and Heather Graham, and for generating friction between the brothers due to their vocal disagreements, which centering on the level of on-screen violence. The resulting film had to be edited to avoid an NC-17 rating due to its overdependence on gore and brutality. To their further dismay, the novel’s author voiced his disapproval of the film for having strayed too far from his original creative work.

The twins then decided to separate their production duties on future projects, Albert would serve as the executive producer, while Allen retained the role of director for several episodes of the American television series “Touching Evil”, and the 2005 made-for-TV feature, “Knights of the South Bronx” starring Ted Danson.

Following a nine-year absence from feature filmmaking, the Hughes twins finally returned to co-directing for the big screen with the 2010 post-apocalyptic epic, “The Book Of Eli” starring Denzel Washington. A film that continues their traditional use of extreme violence as it follows the character of Eli on his journey to protect a book that could redeem society.

Currently, the Hughes twins are attached to direct the biopic “The Ice Man”, which chronicles the life of contract killer Richard Kuklinski, as well as the film adaptation of the classic 1970’s TV series “Kung Fu”, which starred the late David Carradine.

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