Samuel M "Sam" Raimi (born October 23, 1959) is an American film director, producer, writer and actor, famous for creating the cult horror comedy Evil Dead series, as well as directing the superhero film Darkman, and the original Spider-Man trilogy(2002–2007); his most recent work is 2013's fantasy film Oz the Great and Powerful. Raimi has produced several successful television series and is the founder of Renaissance Pictures. Recently, he worked as the producer of The Possession, and the 2013 remake of Evil Dead. He is currently working on a film adaption of the critically acclaimed video game The Last of Us.
He is the older brother of actor Ted Raimi and the younger brother of screenwriter Ivan Raimi.
Raimi became fascinated with making films when his father brought a movie camera home one day and he began to make Super 8 movies with childhood friend Bruce Campbell. In college, he teamed up with his brother's roommate Robert Tapert and Campbell to shoot Within the Woods (1978), a 32-minute horror film which raised $375,000, as well as the short comedic film It's Murder! Through family, friends, and a network of investors Raimi was able to finance production of the highly successful horror film The Evil Dead (1981) which became a cult hit and effectively launched Raimi's career. He began work on his second film Crimewave (1985), intended as a live-action comic book—the film was not successful, due in part to unwanted studio intervention. Raimi returned to the horror genre with the seminal Evil Dead II (which added slapstick humor to the over the top horror, showcasing his love of the Three Stooges). With his brother Ivan Raimi (and crediting himself as Celia Abrams), Sam Raimi also wrote Easy Wheels (1989), a parody of the Outlaw biker film genre. A long-time comic book buff, he then attempted to adapt "The Shadow" into a movie, but was unable to secure the rights, so he created his own super-hero, Darkman (1990). The film was his first major studio picture, and was only moderately successful, but through it he was still able to secure funding for Evil Dead III, which was retitled Army of Darkness and turned away almost totally from horror in favor of fantasy and comedy elements. Army of Darkness, the final movie in the Evil Dead trilogy, was a box office flop, yet on video became a cult classic.
In the 1990s, Raimi moved into other genres, directing such films as the western The Quick and the Dead (starring Sharon Stone and Gene Hackman), the critically acclaimed crime thriller A Simple Plan (1998) (starring Bill Paxton and Billy Bob Thornton), and the romantic drama For Love of the Game (1999) (starring Kevin Costner). Raimi achieved great critical and commercial success with the blockbuster Spider-Man (2002), which was adapted from the comic book series of the same name. The movie has grossed over US$800 million worldwide, spawning two sequels: Spider-Man 2 and Spider-Man 3, both directed by Raimi and both grossing roughly $800 million each. After the completion of the third Spider-Man film, he planned on producing two more sequels but could not find a satisfactory script. Prior to directing the Spider-Man films, Raimi lobbied to direct Batman Forever when Tim Burton was ousted from the director's chair, but was rejected in favor of Joel Schumacher, whose reputation at the time outshone Raimi's.
Raimi frequently collaborates with Joel and Ethan Coen, beginning when Joel was one of the editors of Evil Dead. The Coens co-wrote Crimewave and The Hudsucker Proxy with Raimi in the mid-1980s (though Hudsucker was not produced for almost a decade). Raimi made cameo appearances in Miller's Crossing, The Hudsucker Proxy, and with Joel Coen in Spies Like Us. The Coen brothers gave Raimi advice on shooting in snow for A Simple Plan, based on their experiences with Fargo. He has also worked in front of the camera in The Stand as a dimwitted hitman, John Carpenter's Body Bags as a gas station attendant, and Indian Summer in what is perhaps his biggest role as a bumbling assistant to Alan Arkin. The film was written by his childhood friend writer-director Mike Binder and shot at the camp that they both attended when they were younger. Raimi also produced the entire The Grudge franchise. According to Entertainment Weekly, Raimi had expressed an interest in directing a film version of The Hobbit, the prequel to the Lord of the Rings trilogy. In 2008, Guillermo del Toro was selected as the director, with Peter Jackson as the executive producer. Raimi may direct By Any Means Necessary, the next film based on the "Jack Ryan" CIA character created by Tom Clancy for Paramount Pictures. Disney also approached him to direct W.I.T.C.H.: The Movie, based on the popular comic.
Blizzard Entertainment announced on July 22, 2009 that Sam Raimi will be directing a Warcraft film. However at Comic-Con International 2012, it was revealed that he would not be the one directing the World of Warcraft adaptation.
On September 23, 2009, he became the producer for the British supernatural thriller Refuge, which is directed by Corin Hardy and published by Mandate Pictures. He will produce the remake of the Danish thriller The Substitute, which will be directed by Scott Dickerson under his new Label Spooky Pictures. Raimi produced with his company Ghost House Pictures the British thriller flick Burst 3D, which is directed by Neil Marshall.
On December 11, 2006, the website SuperHero Hype reported that director Sam Raimi and Michael Uslan would co-produce a new film version of The Shadow for Columbia Pictures. On October 16, 2007, Raimi stated that: "I don't have any news on 'The Shadow' at this time, except that the company that I have with Josh Donen, my producing partner, we've got the rights to 'The Shadow.' I love the character very much and we're trying to work on a story that'll do justice to the character." On January 29, 2010, it was reported that Sam Raimi was searching for a new project after it was announced that the Spider-Man movie franchise would be rebooted without him. The Shadow was said to be at the top of his list. On Thursday, August 5, 2010, it was reported that Quentin Tarantino – who was attached as a co-writer for the script – was attached to direct as well. However, Tarantino denied this rumor, reportedly saying "That's totally made up."
Raimi, along with Bruce Campbell and Rob Tapert, produced the remake of Raimi's The Evil Dead. First-time feature filmmaker Fede Alvarez wrote and directed, and Diablo Cody was also brought in to revise/rewrite the script. Sam Raimi confirmed plans to write Evil Dead 4 with his brother; it was later specified that this film would be Army of Darkness 2. Alvarez revealed that Raimi will be directing the sequel to Army of Darkness. In an interview with Erin Darling, Bruce Campbell announced that Army of Darkness 2 is not happening, saying "It's all internet b.s. There's no reality whatsoever. These random comments slip out of either my mouth, or Sam Raimi's mouth, next thing you know, we're making a sequel."