Childhood & Early Life
Kosinski was born on May 3, 1974, in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, to Patricia (nee, Provost) and Joel Kosinski. He grew up in Marshalltown, Iowa.
He earned a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from ‘Standford University.’ At ‘Stanford,’ he also learned jazz music.
He secured a post-graduate degree in architecture from the ‘Graduate School of Architecture, Planning, and Preservation at Columbia University.’ This course helped him enhance his skills in design, graphics, and 3D modeling.
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Despite his lack of qualification and background, Kosinski was destined to make a career in filmmaking. Using technology and his design skills, he made short films at his design studio, ‘TriBeCa.’ His work attracted the attention of producers, and he soon started getting major projects.
He started making commercials for various products and brands. His work, especially for various gaming companies, captured a lot of eyeballs because of his signature visual effects.
He has received three awards for video game commercials from the ‘Association of Independent Commercial Producers.’ The award-winning trailers were ‘Mad World’ for ‘Gears of War,’ ‘Become Legend’ for ‘Destiny,’ and ‘Unity’ for ‘Assassin’s Creed.’ Other popular promotional videos for games from his stable were ‘Starry Night’ for ‘Halo 3’ and ‘Doom.’
He has also created promotional videos for well-known brands, such as ‘iPad Pro’ (‘Apple’), ‘Eye-D’ (‘Nike’), ‘Fly by Night’ (‘Nissan’), ‘Refuel’ (‘BMW’), ‘Hypnotized’ (‘Lexus’), ‘Blackbird’ (‘SAAB’), and ‘Web of Fries’ (‘Taco Bell’).
The short films and video clips that he directed had extensive use of computer graphics and CGI. Thus, it was a natural choice for ‘Walt Disney’ to hire him for making ‘Tron: Legacy,’ the sequel of ‘Tron’ (one of the first few computer animation-based feature films). Its teaser trailer, titled ‘TR2N,’ was first shown at the ‘San Diego Comic-Con’ in 2008. The video was Kosinky’s audition clip.
The film took almost 2.5 more years to be wrapped up and released. With Kosinski at the helm of affairs, the team pushed the boundaries of the existing technology to come up with the required results. One such technique is chroma-keying, which Kosinsky had often used earlier in making commercials but not on a scale as large as a feature film. The cast included Jeff Bridges (reprising the role of ‘Kevin Flynn’), Garrett Hedlund as ‘Samuel “Sam” Flynn,’ and Olivia Wilde as ‘Quorra’ (a member of an isomorphic algorithm).
The film won the award for the ‘Best Original Score’ at the ‘Austin Film Critics Association Award’ (for ‘Daft Punk’). It also won the awards for the ‘Best Actor’ and the ‘Best Production Design’ at the ‘37th Saturn Awards,’ for Jeff Bridges and Darren Gilford, respectively.
The year 2013 saw his second venture, ‘Oblivion,’ a science-fiction action–drama that exhibited his writing skills. For the first time, he took charge of the production, too. The screenplay began as a film and later transformed into an unpublished graphic novel, with Arvid Nelson as a co-writer. He even partnered with ‘Radical Comics’ to develop a series of images and stories. Eventually, ‘Universal Studios’ purchased the rights from Kosinski and ‘Radical.’
With Kosinski leading the crew, using technology to enhance the visual experience of the audience, the movie was packed with visual effects that created a magical film-watching experience. ‘Oblivion’ starred Tom Cruise in the lead (as ‘Jack Harper’), alongside Olga Kurylenko as ‘Julia Rusakova Harper’ and Morgan Freeman as ‘Malcolm Beech.’
‘Only the Brave’ was his third movie as a director and released in 2017. It was a biographical action–drama about the ‘Granite Mountain Hotshots,’ an elite crew of firefighters, which lost 19 out of their 20 firefighters to the ‘Yarnell Hill Fire.’ The movie had an ensemble cast, with Bridges returning to work with Kosinski. It also starred Josh Brolin, Jennifer Connelly, Miles Teller, and Taylor Kitsch.
He is currently filming the second installment of the famous action movie ‘Top Gun,’ which is titled ‘Top Gun: Maverick.’ Tom Cruise and Val Kilmer are reprising their roles of ‘Captain Pete “Maverick” Mitchell’ and ‘Vice Admiral Tom “Iceman” Kazansky,’ respectively. Kosinsky is coming back to work with Miles Teller (as ‘Bradley “Rooster” Bradshaw’) and Jennifer Connelly (starring opposite Tom Cruise).
It has been reported that Kosinsky has his plate full with projects such as the remake of some of the classic science-fiction films of the 1970s, such as ‘Logan’s Run’ and ‘The Black Hole.’ He is also working on the science-fiction film ‘Archangels,’ ‘The Twilight Zone,’ and ‘Gran Turismo’ (based on the video game series of the same name).
In addition to filmmaking, he also teaches graphics and 3D modeling at his alma mater, ‘Columbia University.’