Paul Weiland

Last updated

Paul Weiland

Born (1953-07-11) 11 July 1953 (age 66)
OccupationWriter, director
Years active1987–present

Paul Weiland OBE (born 11 July 1953 in England) is an English motion picture and television director, writer and producer. Weiland is a director and producer of television commercials in the UK, having made over 500 commercials, including a popular and long-running series for Walkers crisps. He has also directed several British television series, including Alas Smith and Jones (1989–1992) and Mr. Bean (1991–1992). His feature film credits include Made of Honor (2008), Sixty Six (2006), Blackadder: Back & Forth (1999), Roseanna's Grave (1997), City Slickers II: The Legend of Curly's Gold (1994) and Leonard Part 6 (1987).


Early years

Weiland grew up in the Southgate section of London, England and attended De Bohun's school. [1] He left school at age 17 and worked as a messenger before becoming a copywriter. [2] [3]


Television commercials

Weiland began his directing career making British television commercials. [2] Weiland has made more than 500 commercials. [2] Weiland's most successful advertising campaign was a series of television commercials for Walkers crisps. The commercials have featured celebrities, including English football striker Gary Lineker, boxer Lennox Lewis and Victoria Beckham. The commercials became enormously popular in Britain, leading Weiland to then say, "A friend said to me the other day that they've become like little Woody Allen films – people want to appear in them. Lennox Lewis obviously didn't need the money but felt that he wanted to be more approachable to the British public. He was interesting, did a good job, as did David Seaman and Victoria Beckham." [3]

Weiland is the owner of The Paul Weiland Film Company and has become a multimillionaire with his work on television commercials. [1] In the 1990s, his company won the top British TV Awards prize for five consecutive years. [1]

Leonard Part 6

In 1987, Weiland made his debut as a feature film director with Leonard Part 6 , a comedy starring Bill Cosby as secret agent who is called out of retirement to save the world from an evil genius who has developed the ability to brainwash small animals into killing humans. The film was a critical and box office bomb. The Village Voice called it "the worst film of the decade." [2] The Los Angeles Times wrote: "'Leonard Part 6' is a smug, tedious exercise in self-indulgence ... There's virtually nothing to laugh at in this film, and too much of everything else." [4] The Times noted that, although Weiland was the director, "clearly Cosby, as star, producer and idea man, is the auteur here." [4]

His direction of Leonard Part 6 resulted in Weiland's being nominated for the Golden Raspberry Award for Worst Director. Asked years later about his work on the film, Weiland recalled:

"It was a terrible mistake. ... When anyone gets into that position (Bill Cosby's position of power in the 1980s), they are surrounded by sycophants and no one tells them the truth. But Cosby just wasn't funny. I couldn't tell him directly. I'd say it feels slow, and he'd say 'You worry about construction, let me worry about funny'." [5]

"Cosby attributed most of the movie's problems to first-time director Weiland, whom he felt was too young and inexperienced. Cosby himself was producer and writer of the story" – New York Times (24 January 1988)

Mr. Bean

Between 1991 and 1992, Weiland directed several episodes of the Mr. Bean television series starring Rowan Atkinson. In 2005, The Times wrote: "The director Paul Weiland made millions laugh with the television comedy series Mr Bean and Alas Smith and Jones ." [2]

City Slickers II: The Legend of Curly's Gold

In 1994, Weiland returned to feature films as the director of City Slickers II: The Legend of Curly's Gold starring Billy Crystal, Daniel Stern, Jon Lovitz and Jack Palance. The film was a sequel to the popular 1991 film City Slickers . In the film, Billy Crystal's character discovers a treasure map and sets off with Lovitz and Stern to find the treasure of gold in the Arizona desert.

Blackadder: Back & Forth

In 2001, Weiland renewed his partnership with Rowan Atkinson, directing him in the British television film, Blackadder: Back & Forth . The film is a time travel comedy in which Atkinson's character, Lord Blackadder, travels in a time machine to the Jurassic period, Sherwood Forest, and the Battle of Waterloo. Miranda Richardson, Hugh Laurie, Stephen Fry, Colin Firth and Kate Moss also appear in the film.

Weiland was nominated for a BAFTA TV Award for his direction of the film.


Weiland's 2006 feature film Sixty Six is an autobiographical comedy-drama based on Weiland's bar mitzvah which was held on the same night as England's win over West Germany in the 1966 FIFA World Cup final. As a result of the football match, guests cancelled en masse, and only a handful showed up at the bar mitzvah.

The film received generally positive reviews. The Guardian of London wrote that, "Despite the whimsical voice-over and gloopy, sentimental tone, it's a hard film to dislike and boasts a wonderfully lugubrious performance from Eddie Marsan as the round-shouldered schlub of a dad." [6]

Made of Honor

Weiland also holds the distinction of directing the last screen appearance of Sydney Pollack in the 2008 feature Made of Honor .


Weiland has won a BAFTA Award for The Storyteller: The Three Ravens and an Emmy Award for Living with Dinosaurs . He also won the President's Award for Lifetime Achievement at the Design & Art Directors Association. [2] [3] In 1983, he was nominated British Academy Award for Best Short Film for his work in directing the short film Keep Off the Grass.

Personal life

Weiland is married, and he and his wife, Caroline, have four children: Maxwell, Hannah, Bella and Joseph.


Weiland's directing credits include:

Related Research Articles

<i>Blackadder</i> British television comedy

Blackadder is a series of four BBC One pseudohistorical British sitcoms, plus several one-off instalments, which originally aired from 1983–1989. All television episodes starred Rowan Atkinson as the antihero Edmund Blackadder and Tony Robinson as Blackadder's dogsbody, Baldrick. Each series was set in a different historical period, with the two protagonists accompanied by different characters, though several reappear in one series or another, e.g., Melchett and Lord Flashheart.

Ben Elton British comedian, author, playwright, actor and director

Benjamin Charles Elton is a British comedian, author, playwright, musical librettist, actor and director. He was a part of London's alternative comedy movement of the 1980s and became a writer on series such as The Young Ones and Blackadder, as well as continuing as a stand-up comedian on stage and television. His style in the 1980s was left-wing political satire. Since then he has published 15 novels and written the musicals The Beautiful Game (2000), We Will Rock You (2002), Tonight's the Night (2003) and Love Never Dies (2010), the sequel to The Phantom of the Opera. His novels cover the dystopian, comedy, and crime genres.

Richard Curtis Screenwriter from New Zealand

Richard Whalley Anthony Curtis,, is a British screenwriter, producer, and film director. One of Britain's most successful comedy screenwriters, he is known primarily for romantic comedy films, among them Four Weddings and a Funeral (1994), Notting Hill (1999), Bridget Jones's Diary (2001), Love Actually (2003), and About Time (2013). He is also known for the drama War Horse (2011), and for having co-written the hit sitcoms Blackadder, Mr. Bean, and The Vicar of Dibley. His early career saw him write material for the BBC's Not the Nine O'Clock News and ITV's Spitting Image.

<i>Mr. Bean</i> British sitcom created by Rowan Atkinson and Richard Curtis

Mr. Bean is a British sitcom created by Rowan Atkinson and Richard Curtis, produced by Tiger Aspect and starring Atkinson as the title character. The sitcom consisted of 15 episodes that were co-written by Atkinson alongside Curtis and Robin Driscoll; for the pilot, it was co-written by Ben Elton. The series was originally broadcast on ITV, beginning with the pilot on 1 January 1990 and ending with "The Best Bits of Mr. Bean" on 15 December 1995.

<i>City Slickers</i> 1991 American western comedy film directed by Ron Underwood

City Slickers is a 1991 American western comedy film, directed by Ron Underwood and starring Billy Crystal, Daniel Stern, Bruno Kirby, and Jack Palance, with supporting roles by Patricia Wettig, Helen Slater, and Noble Willingham.

<i>Blackadder Goes Forth</i> fourth series of the BBC sitcom Blackadder

Blackadder Goes Forth is the fourth and final series of the BBC sitcom Blackadder, written by Richard Curtis and Ben Elton, which aired from 28 September to 2 November 1989 on BBC1. The series placed the recurring characters of Blackadder, Baldrick and George in a trench in Flanders during World War I, and followed their various doomed attempts to escape from the trenches to avoid death under the misguided command of General Melchett. The series references famous people of the time and criticises the British Army's leadership during the campaign, culminating in the poignant ending of its final episode.

<i>Blackadder: Back & Forth</i> 2000 special based on the BBC mock-historical comedy series Blackadder directed by Paul Weiland

Blackadder: Back & Forth is a 1999 science fiction comedy short film based on the BBC period sitcom Blackadder that marks the end of the Blackadder saga. It was commissioned for showing in the specially built SkyScape cinema erected southeast of the Millennium Dome on the Greenwich peninsula in South London. The film follows Lord Edmund Blackadder and his idiotic servant, Baldrick, on a time travel adventure that brings the characters into contact with several figures significant to British history.

Daniel Stern (actor) American actor, artist, comedian, director and screenwriter

Daniel Jacob Stern is an American actor, artist, comedian, director, and screenwriter. He is perhaps best known for his roles as Marvin "Marv" Merchants in Home Alone (1990) and Home Alone 2: Lost in New York (1992), Phil Berquist in City Slickers (1991) and City Slickers II: The Legend of Curly's Gold (1994), the voice of adult Kevin Arnold on the television series The Wonder Years and the voice of Dilbert on the animated series of the same name. Other notable films of his include Breaking Away (1979), Stardust Memories (1980), Diner (1982), Hannah and Her Sisters (1986), The Milagro Beanfield War (1988) and Coupe de Ville (1990). He made his feature-film directorial debut with Rookie of the Year (1993).

Stephen Frost British comedian

Stephen Frederick Eustace Frost is an English actor and comedian.

<i>Leonard Part 6</i> 1987 film by Paul Weiland

Leonard Part 6 is a 1987 American spy parody film. It was directed by Paul Weiland and starred Bill Cosby, who also produced the film and wrote its story. The film also starred Gloria Foster as the villain, and Joe Don Baker. The film was shot in the San Francisco Bay Area. It earned several Golden Raspberry Awards; Cosby himself denounced and disowned it in the press in the weeks leading up to its release. It is often considered to be one of the worst films ever made.

Bruno Kirby American actor, singer, voice artist, chef, and comedian

Bruno Kirby was an American actor, singer, voice artist, and comedian. He was known for his roles in City Slickers, When Harry Met Sally..., Good Morning, Vietnam, The Godfather Part II, and Donnie Brasco. He voiced Reginald Stout in Stuart Little.

<i>City Slickers II: The Legend of Curlys Gold</i> 1994 film by Paul Weiland

City Slickers II: The Legend of Curly's Gold is a 1994 American Western comedy film directed by Paul Weiland. It is the sequel to City Slickers (1991) and stars Billy Crystal, Daniel Stern, Jon Lovitz, and Jack Palance. Although a mild financial success, the film did not reach the popularity of the first, receiving generally negative responses from critics.

Trix Worrell is a St Lucia-born writer, composer and director best known as the creator and writer of television sitcoms Desmond's and Porkpie for Channel 4.

Jon Jones is a Film and Television writer and director working primarily in the UK and USA. He has directed numerous dramas for British and American Television including the award-winning 'When I'm Sixty-Four’, 'The Diary of Anne Frank', 'Blood Strangers’, “The Alan Clark Diaries, ’A Very Social Secretary’, ‘Northanger Abbey’, 'Zen', 'Mr Selfridge' and 'Going Postal'.

Geoffrey Harold Posner is a British television producer and director. Posner has directed and produced some of Britain's most successful comedy shows since the early 1980s.

Rowan Atkinson British actor, comedian, and screenwriter

Rowan Sebastian Atkinson is an English actor, comedian and writer. He is best known for his work on the sitcoms Blackadder (1983–1989) and Mr. Bean (1990–1995). Atkinson first came to prominence in the BBC's sketch comedy show Not the Nine O'Clock News (1979–1982), receiving the 1981 BAFTA for Best Entertainment Performance, and via his participation in The Secret Policeman's Ball (1979). His other work includes the James Bond film Never Say Never Again (1983), playing a bumbling vicar in Four Weddings and a Funeral (1994), voicing the red-billed hornbill Zazu in The Lion King (1994), and playing jewellery salesman Rufus in Love Actually (2003). He also featured in the BBC sitcom The Thin Blue Line (1995–1996). His work in theatre includes the 2009 West End revival of the musical Oliver!.

Frank Budgen was a British commercial director and co-founder of Gorgeous Enterprises, a London-based film production company. He was voted as the Directors Guild of America commercial director of the year in 2007. His notable works include Tag and Mountain.

Paul Trijbits is a Dutch-born film and television producer living in London, with his wife Patricia and children Jakob and Lea.

British Academy Television Award for Best Entertainment Performance award given out by the British Academy of Film and Television Arts

The British Academy Television Award for Best Entertainment Performance is an award given out by the British Academy of Film and Television Arts at their annual BAFTA Television Awards ceremony.

Rowan Atkinson filmography Filmography of actor Rowan Atkinson

British actor and comedian Rowan Atkinson has appeared in twenty films and over thirty film series and over eight television advertisements.


  1. 1 2 3 John Walsh (1 November 2006). "Forty years of hurt ; For one boy, the 1966 World Cup triumph was a personal disaster. Paul Weiland tells John Walsh why he had to recreate that moment on film". The Independent.
  2. 1 2 3 4 5 6 Simon de Bruxelles (31 August 2005). "Leylandii are no laughing matter for film director". The Times (London).
  3. 1 2 3 Marcus Scriven (5 February 2003). "A crisp talent for selling millions; He's made 500 commercials. But could Paul Weiland's series for Walkers be the most successful ever?". Evening Standard (London).
  4. 1 2 Kevin Thomas (18 December 1987). "Cosby's 'Leonard' a Super-Inane Superspy". Los Angeles Times.
  5. Simon Hattenstone (22 September 1994). "Through slick and thin Paul Weiland, adman turned Hollywood film-maker, talks about stars, egos and his latest movie, City Slickers II". The Guardian.
  6. "Film reviews: Sixty Six 2/5 Director: Paul Weiland". The Guardian. 3 November 2006.