David Ayer

An action director with life experience to back up his street-tough films, David Ayer grew up in Minnesota, Maryland, and California. After losing his father at a young age, Ayers became prone to acting out, a characteristic that only became worse as he entered his teenage years. By high school, Ayer found himself getting kicked out of several schools, as well as his family home. He would live with his cousin in crime-heavy South Central Los Angeles, before eventually dropping out of school at 18 to join the United States Navy Submarine Corps. After he was honorably discharged, Ayer eventually began pursuing a career as a screenwriter, bringing stories of military and police service to the page. He had trouble finding work, but eventually was hired as a script doctor. He was also hired to write the period military film "U-571" (2000), which created some controversy for depicting Americans as having cracked the Enigma Code during World War II, though this feat was actually accomplished by the British. Ayer later apologized and said he would not misrepresent historical facts like this again, if given the chance, calling his original choice to do so a "mercenary decision." In 2001, Ayer saw a script he had written four years earlier called "Training Day" (2001) finally be produced for the screen. The film would earn an Oscar for leading actor Denzel Washington, and it helped put Ayer on the map in Hollywood. He soon followed this with his directorial debut, both writing and helming the gritty crime drama "Harsh Times" (2005) with Christian Bale. He then went on to direct movies like the landmark police thriller "End of Watch" (2012), which employed handheld cameras carried by the actors. Ayer also earned acclaim for his World War II drama "Fury" (2014), starring Brad Pitt.