Zack Snyder is the director, producer and co-screenwriter of Sucker Punch


Zachary Edward Snyder was born March 1, 1966, in Green Bay, Wisc., and raised in Greenwich, Conn. His mother was a painter and photography teacher who encouraged him to study painting in England. He later attended the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, Calif., where one of his classmates was director Michael Bay

Zack quickly segued from painting to filmmaking, directing music videos for such artists as Morrissey and Paul Westerberg. He also directed and photographed a number of commercials for carmakers Audi, BMW, Suburu and Nissan, as well as for Nike, Reebok and Gatorade.

A longtime film fan, Zack made his feature debut with Dawn of the Dead, a well-recived 2004 remake of the George A. Romero classic. He followed that up with 300, based on a graphic novel of the same name. He next adapted the most acclaimed comic book series of all time, Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons' 12-issue Watchmen, as 2009's Watchmen. His next film was an animated project based on a series of books, Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga'Hoole. He followed that up with a completely original project, the live-action Sucker Punch (2011), based on his own idea. Zack was hired to direct a new reboot of the Superman franchise, called Man of Steel, which opened on June 14, 2013.

Zack first met Deborah Johnson in 1996, and reconnected in 2002, after working separately. They married in 2004. He and Deborah co-founded Cruel & Unusual Films in 2004 with their producing partner, Wesley Coller. Deborah has co-produced his films since 300. Zack and Deborah live in Pasadena, Calif. 

Filmography as DirectorEdit

  • Man of Steel (2013)
  • Sucker Punch (2011)
  • Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga'Hoole (2010)
  • Watchmen (2009)
  • 300 (2006)
  • Dawn of the Dead (2004)

Other Works FilmographyEdit

  • Sucker Punch (producer, writer and story, with co-writer Steve Shibuya)
  • 300 (screenplay)
  • "Tomorrow," 1992 music video for Morrissey (director)
  • "Desolation Row," 2009 music video for My Chemical Romance (director)

Awards WonEdit

  • 2009 Showest Convention, ShoWest Award, Director of the Year  
  • 2008 Saturn Award, Best Director, 300
  • 2007 Hollywood Film Festival, Hollywood Movie of the Year, 300

Directing TrademarksEdit

  • Ramping: Speeding up and then slowing down the images during action sequences.
  • Slow motion: Snyder also prefers slow motion with camera zooms and pullbacks to emphasize action, rather than conventional quick-cut edits and close-ups.

Snyder on Sucker PunchEdit

Sucker Punch was Zack's first wholly original project (as opposed to remakes or adaptations of material from other media). While Zack hatched the idea, the original version of the screenplay was penned by Snyder's classmate Steve Shibuya. Zack began full-time work on the movie in March 2007, nearly 10 years after the project was first conceived, but he put it aside to film Watchmen.

“I had been working on this other story a long time ago and there was a character in it, this baby doll character, and she kind of went on these sort of fantasies. That whole story kind of — she was only, like, a small side of the story — but it’s, like, [one of] those characters that you’re, like, “Oh, that’s cool.” Then [Steve Shibuya and I] just kept talking about her and sort of seeing how it evolved, and then this story kind of happened. It happened over quite a little period of time, but the actual structure of what it is, is locked in. We had been talking about it, knowing what it was, for quite a while, and I’ve just been busy with all these other things; never really got around to it.”[1]

Snyder returned to the story he described as "Alice in Wonderland with machine guns" in 2009, when Warner Bros. agreed to distribute project, which would be produced by Zack and Deborah's Cruel and Unusual Films. Snyder told Entertainment Weekly in 2009 that he was looking to assemble an all-female cast for his new movie, since he "already did the all-male cast with 300, so I'm doing the opposite end of the spectrum." Among the actresses he was considering at the time were Amanda Seyfried, Evan Rachel Wood and Emma Stone, as well as eventual final cast members Abbie Cornish and Vanessa Hudgens.

Zack starting making Sucker Punch an R-rated movie, but as production continued, he readjusted his sights for the PG-13 rating with which it was released in theaters. Major cuts to the storyline were made to satisfy the MPAA, resulting in a gutted and somewhat confusing storyline. Snyder was able to restore the material for the "extended cut" on Blu-ray and DVD.

Snyder explained his name for the movie thusly: "It's about hopefully what the movie feels like when you watch it, more than a specific, 'Oh, it's a story of this person.' It's all stylized." And that stylization included many of Zack's fetishes. However, as he explained, "on the other hand, though [Sucker Punch is] fetishistic and personal, I like to think my fetishes aren't that obscure. Who doesn't want to see girls running down the trenches of World War I wreaking havoc? I'd always had an interest in those worlds -- comic books, fantasy art, animated films. I'd like to see this; that's how I approach everything, and then keep pushing it from there."

Personal RelationshipsEdit

  • Zack married his second wife, Deborah (Johnson) Snyder on Sept. 25, 2004; they have no children together.
  • Zack has two children with commercial producer Kirsten Elin; they never married.
  • Zack was married to Denise Snyder, mother of his four oldest children.


  • Snyder appears onscreen as himself in the video short Sucker Punch: Maximum Movie Mode -- Exploring the Fantasy World (2011), available on the Sucker Punch Extended Cut Blu-ray + DVD + Digital Copy version of the movie on home video.
  • Turned down the chance to direct 2003's S.W.A.T. because it could be rated R.
  • He cast actor Chris Weber, the current husband of his ex-wife, Denise, in Watchmen.
  • Snyder is a self-identified Christian Scientist.
  • Off stage he told Vanessa this was his first action movie but 300 was.
  • First film directed by Zack Snyder that is not an adaptation. However, the movie features motifs from Lewis Carroll's novel "Alice in Wonderland".

Photo GalleryEdit


  1. Peter Sciretta