Jonathan Demme was one of the most eclectic, delightful and original film makers in Hollywood. He also happened to be one of the nicest: the compassionate sensibility that lent his work his warmth and musicality was no put-on. Plainly put, he loved people.
He rose to prominence in the 1980's with his comedy films Melvin and Howard (1980), Swing Shift (1984), Something Wild (1986) and Married to the Mob (1988). He became best known for directing The Silence of the Lambs (1991), for which he won the Academy Award for Best Director. He later directed the acclaimed films Philadelphia (1993) and Rachel Getting Married (2008).
Throughout 1986-2004, Demme was known for his dramatic close-ups in films. This style of close-ups involves the actor looking directly into the camera during crucial moments, particularly in the 'Quid pro quo' scene in The Silence of the Lambs. According to Demme, this was done to put the audience into the character's shoes. Beginning with Rachel getting married, Demme then adopted a documentary style of filmmaking.
Jonathan Demme died on Wednesday 26 April aged 73. In 2008 Ryan Gilbey asked him whether he had anything to add to the formula he gave in 1986 for making a decent movie 'you get a good script, good actors and try not to screw it up'. He let out a joyful laugh 'That's the formula, baby!'.