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Matthew Vaughn Biography

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Birth Name: Matthew Vaughn
Born: 03/07/1971
Birth Place: London, England, GB

Matthew Vaughn was born in Beverly Hills, CA on March 7, 1971 to actress Kathy Ceaton. For years, he was led to believe that his father was actor Robert Vaughn, star of the espionage series "The Man from U.N.C.L.E." (NBC, 1964-68). The assertion, which Robert Vaughn had always denied, was proven false decades later through legally binding paternity tests, at which time Ceaton admitted that Matthew's father was actually George De Vere Drummond, an English aristocrat. As an adult, Vaughn would later adopt the name Matthew De Vere Drummond for business purposes. Raised in the U.K. from an early age, Vaughn was educated at Stowe School in Buckingham, England. Taking a year off between Stowe and university, he traveled the world on a Hard Rock Café tour - thanks to godfather Peter Morton, founder of the ubiquitous restaurant/nightclub chain - later stopping in Los Angeles, where he worked for a time as an assistant director. Vaughn returned to England and began his studies in anthropology and ancient history at University College London for a time, before ultimately deciding to pursue his true calling - film. His first effort would be as a producer on the barely seen and easily forgotten thriller "The Innocent Sleep" (1996), starring Rupert Graves, Annabella Sciorra and Michael Gambon. Despite the film's lackluster reception, Vaughn was eager to mount another project, and a fortuitous introduction to another aspiring filmmaker would lay the groundwork for many ventures to follow.

Fledgling writer-director Guy Ritchie was in need of a partner to produce his debut feature effort, the British gangster film "Lock, Stock & Two Smoking Barrels" (1999); after reading the script, Vaughn decided he wanted in. Vaughn's sophomore producer's credit would be hard earned, however, taking more than a year to put adequate financing together. Violent, kinetic and brutally comic, the film, about four East End bad boys who become the targets of various criminal elements after hatching one foolish money-making scheme after the other, became an instant cult favorite in the U.K. and in the States. Garnering critical accolades, awards nominations, and substantial box office receipts, it cemented Vaughn and Ritchie's budding working friendship. With the clout earned from "Lock, Stock & Two Smoking Barrels," Vaughn produced "Snatch" (2001), Ritchie's return to the crime-ridden East End streets where a motley crew of miscreants, second-rate thugs, and international gangsters chase a stolen 86-karat diamond. Although generally well received, the film - which reunited back "Lock, Stock" cast members Jason Statham and Vinnie Jones in addition to bringing on established names like Brad Pitt and Benicio Del Toro - was also subject to the criticism that, while stylishly delivered, it followed the aesthetics and structure of "Lock, Stock & Two Smoking Barrels" to an almost slavish degree.

Vaughn and Ritchie - the latter acting solely as a producer - next put their muscle behind "Mean Machine" (2002), a British knock-off of "The Longest Yard" (1974) about a group of inmates who play the prison guards in a football match that promises a hefty payday for a bookie inmate (John Forgeham) owed money by the captain of the inmate squad (Vinnie Jones - a former pro footballer). Directed by first-timer Barry Skolnick, the film lacked the verve and originality of Vaughn and Ritchie's previous collaborations. Although "Mean Machine" flew largely under the radar, Vaughn's next project with his favorite director proved to be an endeavor he would have most likely forgotten. Switching to the genre of romantic comedy, Vaughn produced Ritchie's romantic comedy, "Swept Away" (2002), a remake of a well-regarded Italian film from 1972. Despite Vaughn's protestations, the director's superstar wife, Madonna was hired to play Amber, a spoiled socialite who becomes stranded on a deserted island with her yacht's first mate (Adriano Giannini), only to fall in love with him. Assailed by critics, the movie was barely screened before being pulled from theaters. Later that year, it earned the dubious distinction of being the first film to win a Razzie Award for both Worst Picture and Worst Remake, in addition to "wins" for Ritchie for Worst Director and Madonna for Worst Actress. A decidedly happier event that same year was Vaughn's marriage to supermodel Claudia Schiffer, with whom the filmmaker would have two children over the course of the next two years.

For his next project, Vaughn - who had long aspired to direct - took matters into his own hands when he helmed the crime thriller "Layer Cake" (2004), starring a then-unknown actor Daniel Craig. Familiar in tone to his earlier collaborations with Ritchie, "Layer Cake" was a byzantine, over-populated mix of visual flair and violence, although treated in a more straightforward manner than Richie's directorial efforts. The result was not only a box-office success for the first-time director, but movie stardom for Craig, who went on to land the plum role of the new James Bond, due in large part to his charismatic performance as a drug dealer looking to retire. Having earned his directorial stripes, Vaughn briefly agreed to take on the third installment of the "X-Men" franchise before dropping out due to familial considerations. Instead, he returned to the director's chair and took on co-screenwriting duties for "Stardust" (2007), a fantasy adventure based on the Neal Gaiman novel. With an impressive cast that boasted Robert De Niro, Claire Danes and Michelle Pfeiffer, it was a rollicking tale of a young boy attempting to retrieve a fallen star (Danes) in a mystical land filled with sky pirates and witches. Generally well received by critics, the film failed to find the massive summer audience the studio had hoped for, falling far short of expectations.

Vaughn confined himself solely to the role of producer for "Harry Brown" (2010), an action drama starring Michael Caine in the title role as a retired soldier who turns vigilante after a friend is murdered by local thugs in his declining neighborhood. That same year, he returned as a director, co-writer and producer on the highly-anticipated "Kick-Ass" (2010), an adaptation of the best-selling comic book by Mark Millar and John Romita, Jr. The film starred newcomer Aaron Johnson as an ordinary teen who dons a costume and battles crime as a real-life superhero under the titular alias. Exceedingly violent and bloody, the movie drew controversy for its gory mayhem and the profanity-laced dialogue performed by then-11-year-old actress Chloe Moritz, as the psychotic masked child vigilante Hit Girl. Produced on a moderate budget by Hollywood standards, the film performed well enough to be considered a success, and talk of a sequel comic book series and subsequent film began almost immediately. Getting a second opportunity after losing out on the earlier "X-Men" sequel, Vaughn next directed and co-wrote the big-budget adventure "X-Men: First Class" (2011), a look at the beginnings of the mutant superhero team, set during the Cold War era and starring James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender and January Jones. Later that year, Vaughn produced and co-wrote the espionage thriller "The Debt" (2011), starring Helen Mirren and Sam Worthington, with directorial duties handled by John Madden.