About George Tillman, JR.
After seeing the film, COOLEY HIGH, Milwaukee, Wisconsin native George Tillman became inspired to make films of his own. In 1994, George wrote and directed his first feature film, SCENES FOR THE SOUL . It was shot entirely in Chicago, using local talent and resources. The film, which cost $150,000 to make, caught the attention of Doug McHenry and George Jackson who acquired it for Savoy Pictures for $1 million. Following on the momentum of this success, George began to write a script, loosely based on his own life-- SOUL FOOD.
SOUL FOOD began production on November 6 th , 1996 on a hectic 30-day schedule with a cast that included Vanessa Williams, Vivica A. Fox, Nia Long, Mekhi Phifer, Michael Beach, Irma P. Hall, and Brandon Hammond. Modestly budgeted at $7 million, SOUL FOOD opened to critical and financial success, grossing over $43 million domestically. As a result, George and his producing partner, Bob Teitel, landed a two-year, first look deal at Fox 2000. State Street Pictures became their company's new name--a reference to their earlier years as a filmmaking team in Chicago.
George's next directorial effort was MEN OF HONOR, an epic story inspired by the life of Carl Brashear, a man who battled the obstacles of racism, a lack of education, and the loss of his leg to become the United States Navy's first African-American Master deep sea diver. The film starred Oscar winning actors Cuba Gooding, Jr. and Robert De Niro with an ensemble cast that included Charlize Theron, Michael Rapaport, Lonette McKee, Glynn Turman, and Hal Holbrook. The film opened nationwide on November 10 th 2000 and grossed $85 million worldwide.
After the success of MEN OF HONOR, George ventured into producing. In addition to his role as Executive Producer of the beloved SOUL FOOD: The Series for Showtime Networks, George co-produced with partner, Bob Teitel the MGM film BARBERSHOP . Tim Story directed the comedy, about a day in the life of a Southside Chicago barbershop. The film starred Ice Cube, Anthony Anderson, Sean Patrick Thomas, Eve and Cedric the Entertainer. Widely praised by moviegoers and critics alike, BARBERSHOP opened on September 13 th to record-breaking box office success. With a domestic gross upwards of $75 million, BARBERSHOP has become the most profitable African-American themed film of all time.
Hot on the heels of BARBERSHOP , came the sequel BARBERSHOP 2: BACK IN BUSINESS. It was released February 6 th , 2004. The film, directed by Kevin Rodney Sullivan, was number one in an opening weekend that was even bigger than its predecessor, raking in more than $24.2 million.
George has recently completed producing with partner Bob Teitel, the Fox Searchlight/Fox 2000 film ROLL-BOUNCE! The 70s-inspired coming-of-age comedy features an all-star cast led by Bow Wow, Chi McBride, Khleo Thomas, Mike Epps, Meagan Good, Nick Cannon and Kellita Smith. The film is being directed by Malcolm D. Lee.
George is currently attached to direct the maternal revenge thriller set up at Fox Searchlight, STEPHON'S CORNER. At Fox 2000, he is attached to direct the Gulf War thriller THE INTERROGATOR.