Jaume was born in Sant Iscle de Vallalta, a small town in the province of Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain.
At the age of 18, Jaume moved to Los Angeles, with limited resources and a basic knowledge of the English language, determined to become a film director. He attended Columbia College and began working on the side as an editor.
Jaume’s surreal and often dark imagery quickly caught the eye of Producer Joel Silver who hired him to direct “House of Wax” in 2005. In 2007, his love for soccer took him back to Spain to shoot “Goal II: Living the Dream”. In 2009 he opened, “Orphan”, to critical and financial success. His latest feature “Unknown”, starring Liam Neeson, snagged the no 1 box office spot in its opening weekend.
In 2009 he started his third film of his career, Orphan, American psychological thriller starring Vera Farmiga, Peter Sarsgaard, and Isabelle Fuhrman. The film centers on a couple who, after the death of their unborn child, adopt a mysterious nine year-old girl. Orphan was produced by Joel Silver and Susan Downey of Dark Castle Entertainment and Leonardo DiCaprio and Jennifer Davisson Killoran of Appian Way Productions.
The film was released theatrically in the United States on 24 July 2009The film received mixed critical reviews although Fuhrman’s performance as Esther was acclaimed. He then directed Unknown, a 2011 British psychological thriller starring Liam Neeson, Diane Kruger, January Jones, Aidan Quinn, Bruno Ganz, and Frank Langella. The film is based on the 2003 French novel published in English as Out of My Head, by Didier Van Cauwelaert. The venture’s first film was Mindscape, a psychological thriller about a man with the ability to enter people’s memories, starring Taissa Farmiga, Mark Strong and Brian Cox.
Collet-Serra formed his own production house, Ombra Films. With money from StudioCanal, the small company will make low-budget English-language horror movies, with an eye toward launching the careers of up-and-coming Spanish filmmakers.
In a recent interview with Jaume Collet Serra, he was asked some questions that help us to realize what kind of director he is.
1) CS: Joel Silver is a great character and you’ve worked on a ton of movies with him. He refers to a movie like this as a commerce movie. Is that different from how you see it when you’re in the thick of making it?
No, that’s the movie I want to make. That’s what I did on “Unknown.” “Orphan” I wanted to make an elevated horror, elevated to psychological so it wouldn’t become another version of “Chucky.” Dealing with some sort of paranoia and human nature with the mom being overprotective of these kids. “Unknown” is a movie with a very simple concept, and so is this one. Movies with simple concepts are designed for the mainstream. You need to offer the concept then explore all possible angles on it. There’s not much you can do with them
2) CS: Besides the intellectual exercise of that how do you dig in and find yourself as an artist and a filmmaker within a commerce movie like this?
I enjoy it. I enjoy the challenges. If you saw the script I got to make this movie, then you see the movie it ended up being you’ll see my artistry. That’s where I enjoy taking a concept which is very basic, completely flawed, and making it work. Making it entertaining so people can enjoy it. For me it’s an interesting process. This movie is a movie that should be seen by as many people as possible. The only purpose is to entertain, and I’m happy that’s the case.
3) Question: What was it about the subject matter that piqued your interest?
JAUME COLLET-SERRA: For me it was the concept. Also the challenge of shooting an entire movie in one set. I think it’s very interesting for a director that enjoys thrillers and mysteries like I do to have the challenge to do that, and so that was the main reason for me, the concept, the air marshal world and also, you know, being afraid of flying just a little bit, and so, I thought that the fragility of the environment, a plane going from New York to London just in the middle of the ocean, if something goes wrong, it could become a very scary place, but I didn’t want to make a movie that was all in your face, hijacking terrorists. I wanted to make a mystery in that environment.
4)Your movies have been in various genres, however you seem to spend a lot of time making horror projects. Do you enjoy the challenges of something different or the familiar?
I would say that even within one genre there are so many differences. The River was the only one that dealt with supernatural horror and the idea of found footage was something of an interesting experimentation. Most horror I have done has been grounded. I enjoy projects that are very human. I find it very interesting when there are bad guys that start getting control and there’s that sense where they are winning. It’s good to see how people get out of that. Also movies with high concepts like House Of Wax with a small town or Orphan which was easy to scary people.
DIRECTOR JAUME COLLET-SERRA: “I ENJOY PROJECTS THAT ARE VERY HUMAN”