Bill Rancic Defends His Wife Giuliana After Fashion Police Controversy: 'I Tried to Get Them to Release the Footage' 42 years, 2,191 covers and 55,436 stories from PEOPLE magazine's history for you to enjoy
- Kanye West's Yeezy Season 3 Show: 5 Stylish Things You May Have Missed
- Read the Cover Story: Ryan Reynolds: Sexiest Dad Alive
- Jamie Chung Reveals the Reason She Has Never Watched Husband Bryan Greenberg in One Tree Hill
- Utah High Schooler Hands Out 900 Carnations to the Girls at His School for Valentine's Day: 'It Was Totally Worth It'
- Let Evan Rachel Wood and Chris Evans Heat Up Your Valentine's Day in Their Gucci Guilty Video
On Newsstands Now
- Matthew McConaughey: In His Own Words
- Jessa Duggar's Wedding Album
- Brittany Maynard's Final Days
Pick up your copy on newsstands
Click here for instant access to the Digital Magazine
People Top 5
LAST UPDATE: Tuesday February 10, 2015 01:10PM EST
PEOPLE Top 5 are the most-viewed stories on the site over the past three days, updated every 60 minutes
- December 30, 1991
- Vol. 36
- No. 25
A 23-Year-Old First-Time Director Brings the Ghetto to the Suburbs with His Tough Boyz N the Hood
Steeped in the larger-than-life images of stark morality tales like The Good, the Bad and the Ugly, Singleton went on to write and direct a compelling first film, Boyz N the Hood, that in its own way has loomed as large as anything he saw out his window. Made for a mere $6 million, the gritty coming-of-age story set in Singleton's old neighborhood was first a sleeper hit at Cannes. But when it opened in the U.S. in July, its arrival was marred by gang-related gunfire that left two dead and more than 20 wounded. Though appalled by the incidents, Singleton maintained convincingly that Boyz, a cautionary tale about the high price of violence, had less to do with these disturbances than did the social conditions the movie describes. When the shooting stopped, moviegoers kept coming; so far, Boyz has taken in $56 million at the box office.
A major reason for the film's success is that Boyz attracted whites, as well as blacks, by addressing social problems of concern to both. "My film deals with universal issues like the breakdown of the family," says Singleton. "That's affecting everybody."
Like his movie's hero, Tre Styles, the young director was raised alternately by mother Sheila Ward (a sales executive) and father Danny Singleton (a mortgage broker). The two never married, but they gave their only son a solid sense of self. He made his intellectual escape by bingeing on movies—anything by Steven Spielberg or Martin Scorsese—and he read the Screenwriter's Workbook until it was dog-eared. The dedication paid off. One month after graduating from USC film school in 1989, Singleton sold Boyz to Columbia Pictures. As abrupt as the transition may seem, he feels well equipped for swimming with sharks. "I bring a street sensibility to the business," he says.
Although he often goes back to the 'hood to see family and friends, Singleton has moved to L.A.'s upscale black Baldwin Hills neighborhood, But he can more often be found in his sparsely furnished Columbia office, where he puts in long days writing Poetic Justice, a "romantic parable" about a female poet, set to begin filming in April. Cagey, private and intense, Singleton has learned to play the game: He takes meetings with studio execs and talks shop with colleagues like Spike Lee. A fast learner, he takes nothing for granted. "In this business, success is determined by longevity," he says soberly. "It doesn't matter if you're young and you're doing a movie right now. You're only as good as your next movie, right? And I'm happy I've got my next movie."
Treat Yourself! 4 Preview Issues
The most buzzed about stars this minute!