Ron Underwood is an American film director, producer and television director.
Following his critically acclaimed venture into television, Underwood decided to have a go at directing feature films. His first effort was Tremors starring Kevin Bacon, Fred Ward and Reba McEntire in her acting debut. Written by his friends Brent Maddock & S. S. Wilson, it was released by Universal Studios in 1990. The film was well received by the critics and later established itself as a cult classic.
Underwood received his first taste of commercial success with 1991's City Slickers, which starred Billy Crystal, Daniel Stern and Jack Palance, who won an Academy Award for his performance. The film made $179m worldwide with a budget of only $27m. It was the tenth most successful film released in 1991 (the fifth most successful in the US). His next film, Heart and Souls (1993), was again well-received by critics but struggled at the box office (making a total of $16m). It starred Robert Downey, Jr., Charles Grodin, Tom Sizemore, Kyra Sedgwick, Elisabeth Shue and Alfre Woodard. He followed this with Speechless (1994), with Michael Keaton and Geena Davis.
Given the opportunity to direct a big-budget film by Walt Disney Pictures in 1998, he was asked to direct Mighty Joe Young, a remake of the 1949 RKO film. The film, starring Charlize Theron in her first lead role, was nominated for the Academy Award for Visual Effects and featured some of the most sophisticated special effects seen in film up to that point, paving the way for later ape films like Peter Jackson's King Kong (2005). The special effects drove production costs to around $90m, and ultimately global box-office takings fell short by about $20m.
Following Mighty Joe Young, Underwood began work on Eddie Murphy fronted The Adventures of Pluto Nash. The film also starred Rosario Dawson and was filmed in Montreal, Canada. Unfortunately for Underwood, the film was greeted with universally poor reception, and proved an even larger box-office failure than Mighty Joe Young.
Underwood has returned to his roots, directing both low-budget films and television. He directed Stealing Sinatra (2003) for Showtime, for which William H. Macy received an Emmy nomination, Back When We Were Grownups (2004) for the Hallmark Hall of Fame which garnered star Blythe Danner nominations for the Golden Globe and the Emmy, and In the Mix (2005), starring R&B singer Usher, Chazz Palminteri and Emmanuelle Chriqui for Lions Gate Entertainment. He directed several holiday themed movies for television: The Year Without a Santa Claus, Holiday in Handcuffs, Santa Baby and Deck the Halls. He has directed a number of episodic television dramas, including episodes of Monk, Boston Legal, Reaper, Ugly Betty, Eli Stone, Heroes, Chaos, Necessary Roughness, Harry's Law, Grey's Anatomy, The Glades, Burn Notice, Once Upon a Time, Desperate Housewives and Scandal.
Once Upon a Time directing credits
The following is a list of episodes of Once Upon a Time that credit Underwood as their director.
- "Red-Handed" (1.15)
- "Into the Deep" (2.08)
- "Lost Girl" (3.02)
- "The New Neverland" (3.10)
- "Snow Drifts" (3.21)
- "White Out" (4.02)
- "Best Laid Plans" (4.16)
- "Mother" (4.20)
- "The Dark Swan" (5.01)
- "Firebird" (5.20)
- "A Bitter Draught" (6.02)
- "Wish You Were Here" (6.10)
- "Ill-Boding Patterns" (6.13)
Once Upon a Time in Wonderland directing credits
The following is a list of episodes of Once Upon a Time in Wonderland that credit Underwood as their director.
- "Who's Alice?" (1.06)