Illeana Douglas is an actress, writer, director, and now author. Her best-selling movie memoir, I Blame Dennis Hopper was named “Top ten books of 2015” by Entertainment Weekly. The granddaughter of two-time Academy Award winner Melvyn Douglas, Illeana has been a familiar face on TCM and is the host of “Trailblazing Women.” The first year, called “Trailblazing Women-Behind the Camera Ahead of Their Time” focused on the work and contributions of female directors. This year’s was, “Trailblazing Women-Actresses Who Made a Difference,” and focused on the historical and social contributions of actresses. Illeana hosts a movie based interview podcast called I Blame Dennis Hopper on the Popcorn Network.
She’s currently costarring in the films Unleashed (2016) The Late Bloomer (2016) Max Rose (2016) and Peter Bogdanovitch’s She’s Funny That Way (2015) Illeana will be directing her first feature film Love Is Funny based on an original script. She’s also the Executive Producer and costar of the web series The Skinny (2016).
Illeana first came to prominence as Matt Dillon’s suspicious sister in Gus Van Sant’s To Die For (1995), for which she was a New York Film Critics award nominee. Other memorable films include Goodfellas (1991) Cape Fear (1993) Alive (1993) Search and Destroy (1995) Grief (1995) Grace of My Heart (1996)) Picture Perfect (1997), Message in a Bottle (1999) Happy, Texas (1999), Stir of Echoes (1999), Ghost World (2001), Dummy (2003), Pittsburgh (2006), The Green (2012), Chez Upshaw (2012) and All Stars (2015). Notable television movies include Rough Riders (1998), Weapons of Mass Distraction (1999), Lansky (2000) and Point of Origin (2001). Illeana recently guest starred on Modern Family, Welcome to Sweden, Maron, Grey’s Anatomy and Drop Dead Diva. Illeana starred in Action. She’s has been featured in recurring and guest-star roles in Law & Order: SVU, Ugly Betty, The Drew Carey Show, The Larry Sanders Show, Entourage and Six Feet Under, which earned her an Emmy nomination.
Illeana wrote, produced, directed and starred in the first branded web series called Easy To Assemble which was hailed as “the most successful branded show of all time” by Ad-Week. Easy to Assemble featured a cornucopia of stars including Jeff Goldblum, Kate Micucci, Jane Lynch, Tim Meadows, Kevin Pollak, Fred Willard and Justine Bateman, and spawned a spin-off Sparhusen that starred Keanu Reeves. Easy To Assemble won six Webby Awards for Best Performance, Best Writing and Best Branded Series. Sparhusen won a Webby Award for Best Short Comedy. Easy to Assemble won two Streamy Awards for Best Ensemble Cast and Best Product Integration, the 2010 BANFF Outstanding Online Performance Award, the 2010 NAPTE Digital Luminary Award and the 2010 Independent Television Festival Innovator Award.
Illeana began her career as a stand-up comedian and sketch performer at Stand Up New York and The Manhattan Punchline. While working for a New York film publicist, Peggy Siegal, Douglas was asked to dub screams and provide additional dialogue for Martin Scorsese’s film, The Last Temptation of Christ (1988). This led to a long association with Scorsese, acting in New York Stories (1989), Goodfellas (1990) and Cape Fear (1991) She also developed and co-produced under the Cappa Productions banner, Search and Destroy (1995) Grace of My Heart (1996) Bedlam and The Lost Army.
With Scorsese’s encouragement, she also began writing and directing. The Perfect Woman (1993) won “Best Short” at Aspen Shorts Fest and was chosen as the closing night selection for The New York Film Festival before Jane Campion’s The Piano (1993). Based on the audience reaction Miramax purchased the film that night. The Academy Film Archives has selected The Perfect Woman for permanent preservation. Illeana next wrote and directed and starred in Everybody Just Stay Calm (1994), a documentary about the comedic trials of independent filmmaking, costarring Scorsese, Ang Lee, David O.Russel, Kevin Smith, Mira Sorvino and many other independent filmmakers. This was a staple on the newly formed network called IFC. Next came Boy Crazy, Girl Crazier (1996) also for IFC, and a movie-based interview show, Confessions of a Movie Lover. Illeana wrote, produced, directed and starred in the short films Devil Talk (2003) Supermarket (2004) and Illeanarama (2005), which played in numerous festivals including Sundance, Toronto, Tribeca, and the New York Film Festival. Next came, Illeanarama, a retrospective of her short films for The Sundance Channel. Illeanarama-Supermarket of the Stars became a comedy series developed with New Line Television for the Oxygen Network. She also produced and starred in Celebrity Garage Sale (2009) with Tom Arnold for A&E. She wrote, produced, and starred in Soul mates (2011) for Lifetime digital. Additionally, she was an executive producer on the film Life Without Dick (2002) starring Sarah Jessica Parker, Co-produced the documentary Kingdom Come (2013) and was a Producer and costar with Kevin Pollak on Chez Upshaw (2012).