Australian-born Roger Donaldson, 62, may be the perfect example of a journeyman filmmaker, or a craftsman, the exact opposite of an auteur. You could watch back-to-back, for example, Cocktail (1988), Species (1995) and Thirteen Days (2000) and never guess that the same man made all three. His filmography is a perfect cross-section of Hollywood films, good and bad. He may be the only director nominated for both the Palme d'Or (for The Bounty in 1984) and a Razzie (for Cocktail).
The best thing about these types of filmmakers is that they're level-headed and tend to learn from their mistakes, picking up new skills and bringing fresh ideas to each new film. Likewise, he has worked with an impressive roster of actors and actresses, including many future stars and Oscar winners. He began as a still photographer and a documentary filmmaker before helping to organize the New Zealand Film Commission. His first films, Sleeping Dogs (1977) and Smash Palace (1981) helped put him on the map and brought him to Hollywood, where he has worked steadily for three decades. His previous film, The World's Fastest Indian (2005), was something of a personal film for him. He revisited a subject from a documentary he made in the 1970s, wrote the script and raised the money, shot partly in New Zealand where his roots are, and even reunited with Anthony Hopkins, the co-star of The Bounty.