Michael Kenneth Mann (born February 5, 1943) is an American film director, screenwriter, and producer. For his work in film, he has received nominations from a myriad of international organizations and juries, including those at Cannes, the British Academy of Film and Television Arts and the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. He has produced the Awards Awards ceremony twice, first in 1999 with the 72nd annual Academy Awards and second in 2004 with the 77th annual ceremony.

Mann later moved to London in the mid 1960s to go to graduate school in cinema.He went on to receive a graduate degree at the London International Film School. He spent seven years in the United Kingdom going to film school and then working on commercials along with contemporaries Alan Parker, Ridley Scott and Adrian Lyne. In 1968, footage he shot of the Paris student revolt for a documentary, Insurrection, aired on NBC's First Tuesday news program and he developed his '68 experiences into the short film "Juanpuri," which won the Jury Prize at Cannes in 1970.

Mann returned to United States after divorcing his first wife in 1971. He went on to direct a road trip documentary, 17 Days Down the Line. Three years later, Hawaii Five-0 veteran Robert Lewin gave Mann a shot and a crash course on television writing and story structure. Mann wrote the first four episodes of Starsky and Hutch and the pilot episode for Vega$. Around this time, he worked on a show called Police Story with cop-turned-novelist Joseph Wambaugh. Police Story concentrated on the detailed realism of a real cop's life and taught Mann the essential for first-hand research to bring authenticity to his work.

His first feature movie was a made-for-TV special called The Jericho Mile, which was released theatrically in Europe. It won the Emmy for best MOW in 1979 and the DGA Best Director award. His television work also includes being the executive producer on Miami Vice and Crime Story. Contrary to popular belief, he is not the creator of these shows but the executive producer and the showrunner. They were produced by his production company. However, his cinematic influence is felt throughout each show in terms of casting and style.

Mann is now known primarily as a feature film director and he is considered to be one of America's top filmmakers. He has a very distinctive style that is reflected in his works: his trademarks include unusual scores, such as Tangerine Dream in Thief or the New Age score to Manhunter. Dante Spinotti is a frequent cinematographer of Mann's pictures. Mann has an affinity for stark urban landscapes and a visual style which often places an emphasis on soft blues and harsh, sterile whites.[citation needed]

Mann's first cinema feature as director was Thief starring James Caan

1983's The Keep was in retrospect an uncharacteristic choice, being that it is a supernatural thriller set in Nazi occupied Romania. It was a commercial flop and provoked almost universal confusion in those who did manage to see it. Though it is believed that the 96 minute released cut was significantly shorter than Mann had intended.[citation needed]

Mann was the first to bring Thomas Harris's character of Hannibal Lecter to the screen with his adaptation of novel Red Dragon, as Manhunter, the film was quite different from the future, more successful entries to the series and starred Brian Cox as a more down-to-earth Hannibal. The story was remade less than 20 years after it came out by Brett Ratner presumably because Anthony Hopkins reprisal of the role in Ridley Scott's Hannibal had made the character a highly lucrative property. In an interview on the Manhunter DVD, star William Petersen comments that because Mann is so focused on his creations, it takes several years for Mann to complete a film; Petersen believes that this is why Mann doesn't make films very often.[4]

He gained wide spread recognition in 1992 for his film adaptation of James Fenimore Cooper's book Last of the Mohicans. His biggest critical successes in the 1990s began with the release of Heat in 1995 and The Insider in 1999. The films, both of which featured Al Pacino along with Robert DeNiro in Heat and Russell Crowe in The Insider, showcased Mann's cinematic style and adeptness at creating rich, complex storylines as well as directing actors. The Insider was nominated for seven Academy Awards as a result, including a nomination for Mann's direction.

With his next film Ali starring Will Smith in 2001, he started experimenting with digital cameras. Smith was nominated for an Academy Award. On Collateral he shot all of the exterior scenes digitally (with the Viper Video Stream camera) so that he could achieve more depth and detail during the night scenes while shooting most of the interiors on film stock. The film helped catapult Jamie Foxx to greater fame, and he was nominated for an Academy Award for his performance.

In 2004, Mann was nominated for producing Best Picture nominee The Aviator, a film he had developed with Leonardo DiCaprio with Mann at the helm, he then decided it was too similar in content to the biopic Ali, decided to direct Collateral and left the director's chair to now-frequent DiCaprio collaborator Martin Scorsese

Since Collateral Mann has made Miami Vice, the film adaptation of the hit TV series of the same name which Mann executive produced. It stars a completely new cast with Colin Farrell in Don Johnson's role and Jamie Foxx filling Philip Michael Thomas' shoes.

He will act as producer and Peter Berg as director for the upcoming movie Hancock which stars Will Smith as a hard-drinking superhero who has fallen out of favor with the public and who begins to have an unlikely relationship with the wife (Charlize Theron) of a public relations expert (Jason Bateman) who is helping him to repair his image.

Mann will direct The Few, a war/drama based on the true-life story of American pilot Billy Fiske, who ignored that his country (the USA) is neutral in the early days of WWII and flew and fought against the Germans. Also he'll direct Frankie Machine about an ex mob hit man (Robert De Niro) who is lured back into his professional job from living in rural comfort by a son of a Mafia Don.

On May 2, 2007, Variety magazine revealed that Mann's next project would be a 1930s film noir starring Leonardo DiCaprio,[5] however he was unable to find a studio to finance it. On October 10, 2007, Variety reported that Mann would be re-teaming with Will Smith on a film entitled, Empire for Columbia Pictures, written by John Logan. Smith will "play a contemporary global media mogul."[6] Variety confirmed that Mann's next film will be called Public Enemies for Universal Pictures and is about the Depression-era crime wave, based on Brian Burrough's nonfiction book, Public Enemies: America's Greatest Crime Wave and the Birth of the FBI, 1933-34. It will star Johnny Depp and Mann has written the screenplay and will direct.[7] The actor will play John Dillinger in the film. DiCaprio was originally attached to the project, but he is scheduled to appear in Martin Scorsese's Shutter Island.[8] Public Enemies will start filming in Chicago on March 10, 2008.[7] On January 11, 2008, Variety[9] reports that Christian Bale is in talks for the role of Melvin Purvis in Public Enemies.