Charlie McDowell is an American film director and author, best known for directing films like ‘The One I Love’ and ‘The Discovery.’ Charlie followed the footsteps of his parents, actor Malcolm McDowell and actress Mary Steenburgen into showbiz. He initially directed a short comedy ‘Bye Bye Benjamin’. Moving on, he made his feature film directorial debut with sci-fi thriller ‘The One I Love’ that had its world premiere at the ‘Sundance Film Festival’ and received positive reviews. The film starred his step-father, Ted Danson, among others. His next directorial venture was the British-American romantic sci-fi film ‘The Discovery,’ which starred his then girlfriend Rooney Mara. Charlie also directed Sarah Silverman's HBO pilot and also announcement that he would be making a limited series for FX, adopting the novel ‘Zero K’ by American author Don DeLillo. Time magazine described his Twitter feed @charliemcdowell as among the most hilarious ones out there. His humorous fiction book, ‘Dear Girls Above Me: Inspired by a True Story,’ is based on his Twitter feed. Charlie owns a production company called ‘Cloudbreak Productions’ and is a directing partner at the American Film Institute.
Childhood & Early Life
Charlie McDowell was born Charles Malcolm Taylor on July 10, 1983, in Los Angeles, California, US, to English actor Malcolm McDowell and Oscar winning American actress Mary Steenburgen. Charlie has an elder sister, Lilly Amanda. His parents separated in 1989 and divorced the following year.
His father went on to marry Kelley Kuhr in 1991, and through this marriage Charlie has three younger half-brothers, Beckett Taylor, Finnian Anderson and Seamus Hudson.
Charlie’s mother later married American actor and producer Ted Danson in 1995. Through this marriage, Charlie became step-brother of Kate Danson and Alexis Danson, daughters of Ted and the latter’s second wife, producer Cassandra "Casey" Coates.
He prefers keeping his private life away from the limelight. Probably this is why not much has come to shore on his childhood and early life.
He completed his graduation in 2002 from Crossroads High School in Santa Monica. He studied film at the Chapman University and also attended AFI Conservatory.
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Charlie featured in an uncredited role of a patient in the January 28, 2004, aired episode, ‘DNR,’ of the comedy television series ‘Becker’. The series featured his step-father, Ted, and Hattie Winston in starring roles. That year Charlie sold a pilot TV series to ABC.
Since 2005, he is serving as a directing partner at the American Film Institute.
He co-wrote and directed short comedy film ‘Bye Bye Benjamin’. The film released in Los Angeles, California, on January 13, 2006 and later in Santa Monica, California, on June 5 that year. It featured Ted in the role of Bill.
Time magazine praised his Twitter feed @charliemcdowell in 2011 as "one of the most hilarious Twitter feeds out there". His book, ‘Dear Girls Above Me: Inspired by a True Story,’ is based on his Twitter feed. He created his Twitter account in March 2009, which till now has garnered over 71 K followers.
He directed the sci-fi thriller film ‘The One I Love’ that featured Mark Duplass, Elisabeth Moss, and Ted in starring roles. World premiere of the film took place at the ‘Sundance Film Festival’ on January 21, 2014. Worldwide distribution rights of the film were acquired by RADiUS-TWC. It screened at the ‘Tribeca Film Festival’ on April 25, that year before having its video on demand release on August 1, and limited release on August 22 of the same year. Charlie also lent his voice to the character of ‘Madison’ in the critically acclaimed film.
He went on to direct Sarah Silverman's HBO pilot in 2015. The following year he directed two episodes of the critically acclaimed and popular comedy television series ‘Silicon Valley’ that aired on HBO.
The next feature film he directed was the British-American romantic science fiction flick ‘The Discovery’ that garnered mixed critical reviews. Charlie also co-wrote the screenplay of the film with Justin Lader. It had Rooney Mara, Robert Redford and Jason Segel in starring roles and also featured Charlie’s mother in the role of ‘Interviewer’. The film had its world premiere at the ‘Sundance Film Festival,’ on January 20, 2017. It was later released theatrically worldwide by Netflix on March 31, that year.
In March 2017, he announced that he would be making a limited series for FX that will be produced by Noah Hawley and Scott Rudin. The series was to be adapted from the novel ‘Zero K’ by Don DeLillo.
He owns a production company, ‘Cloudbreak Productions,’ and serves as its President.
Family & Personal Life
Charlie is known to have dated American actress, singer, songwriter, fashion designer, writer, and television host Haylie Duff in 2007. Thereafter, from April 2008 to February 2009, he was romantically associated with American actress and singer Kristin Chenoweth.
American television director and producer Jesse Bochco became his step brother-in-law, after marrying Kate in 2009.
Charlie was in a steady relationship with American actress Rooney Mara, since 2010 before the two called it quits in late 2016.
English actress Emilia Clarke, through a post on Instagram on her 32nd birthday, gave rise to speculations that the two are dating.