Stephen Hopkins had a diverse background in graphic design and storyboarding prior to taking off as director of Hollywood action features. Hopkins steadily gained clout through the 1990s, and in 2001 linked up with his most visible venture, serving as co-executive producer and director of about half the episodes of Fox's breakthrough real-time television drama 24.
Hopkins was born in Jamaica and raised in England and Australia. He ventured out into the working world as a designer of album covers before getting in good with Australian director Russell Mulcahy, who was then working as a music video director. Hopkins worked as a storyboard artist for Mulcahy and set designer on his videos. Forging his own opportunity, Hopkins began directing videos and commercials himself, but eventually returned to Australia to serve as second-unit director on Mulcahy's cult hit Highlander (1986). This paved the way for his own directorial debut, Dangerous Game (1987).