Joining the ranks of movie critics-turned-directors, Rod Lurie earned his Hollywood stripes by guiding Joan Allen and Jeff Bridges to Oscar nominations in only his second feature, The Contender (2000).
Lurie seemed to be destined for an entirely different profession when he opted to attend college at the prestigious West Point military academy. After graduating in 1984, Lurie served as a Combat Arms officer in the Army for four years. Finished with the military by the late '80s, Lurie turned to the movies, working as an entertainment reporter for the New York Daily News and a freelance magazine writer. Relocating to Los Angeles, Lurie wrote for Los Angeles magazine, published a book, and became the film critic for KABC radio in 1995. During his four years at KABC, Lurie met Joan Allen at an awards show and declared that he was going to write a screenplay tailored to her talents.