Destin Daniel Cretton

Destin Daniel Cretton is an American film director, screenwriter, producer, and editor. He is best known for his collaborations with Brie Larson, in the films Short Term 12, The Glass Castle, and Just Mercy.

Early life

Cretton was born in 1978 in Haiku, Hawaii on the island of Maui, the son of Janice Harue Cretton, a Japanese American hairdresser, and Daniel Cretton, of Irish and Slovak ancestry, who worked for the fire department. He was home-schooled by his Christian mother. He lived in Haiku in a two-bedroom house with his five siblings, including sister Joy, until he was 19 years old. He moved to San Diego, California to attend Point Loma Nazarene University, where he majored in communications. After graduating, Cretton worked for two years as a staff person at a group home for at-risk teenagers.
He made short films as a hobby, which developed as a vocational path. He attended and graduated from film school at San Diego State University.


While at San Diego State University, Cretton made a 22-minute short film, Short Term 12, based on his experiences at the facility for teenagers. The short film premiered at the 2009 Sundance Film Festival, where it won the Jury Prize in Short Filmmaking.
After graduating from film school, Cretton decided to adapt the short into a feature-length screenplay, which won one of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences' five Nicholl Fellowships in Screenwriting in 2010.
That screenplay served as the basis for what would become the feature film of the same name, also directed by Cretton, which was released in 2013. The film premiered on March 10, 2013 at South by Southwest, where it won the Grand Jury and Audience Awards for a Narrative Feature. Widely acclaimed as one of the best films of 2013, it was listed on many film critics' annual top ten lists. The film earned several accolades, including three Independent Spirit Award nominations.
In 2014, Cretton was attached to rewrite the script and direct The Glass Castle, an adaptation of Jeannette Walls' 2005 best-selling memoir of the same name about a successful young woman raised by severely dysfunctional parents. Starring Larson, the film also features Woody Harrelson and Naomi Watts as her alcoholic father and eccentric mother, respectively. Larson's role was originally considered by Jennifer Lawrence, but she dropped out while the studio was seeking the male lead. The film was released on August 10, 2017. It received mixed reviews from critics; they praised the performances of its cast but criticized the emotional tones and adaptation of the source material.
In 2016, it was announced that Ryan Coogler had teamed up with Cretton and poet/playwright Chinaka Hodge to develop Minors, a new television drama series produced by Charles D. King. Drawing from Cretton's experiences working in residential foster care, Hodge's background teaching under-served youth in San Francisco Bay area continuation schools, and Coogler's upbringing in the East Bay, Minors promises to take an unflinching look at institutionalization, exploring juvenile facilities and the children who grow up in that system. The series will show how that system shapes young people over a one-year period. Hodge will write the series, and Coogler and Cretton will direct.
Cretton subsequently teamed with Larson and Michael B. Jordan for Just Mercy, a drama film based on civil rights defense attorney Bryan Stevenson's New York Times bestselling memoir: Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption. Stevenson founded the Equal Justice Institute in Montgomery, Alabama, where he provided defense counsel to men on death row. The plot follows Stevenson as he explores the case of a death row prisoner, Walter McMillian, whom he fought to free. The film premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival on September 6, 2019, and was theatrically released on December 25, 2019, by Warner Bros. Pictures. Just Mercy was critically acclaimed.
In March 2019, Cretton was hired by Marvel Studios to direct a film based on Shang-Chi. Both the film and Cretton's involvement were confirmed during the San Diego Comic-Con 2019, with the film being titled Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings. The film, which is Marvel's first superhero movie tentpole franchise with an Asian protagonist, will star Simu Liu as the title character, with Tony Leung Chiu-wai and Awkwafina set to co-star. On January 5, 2020, Cretton said that he signed up to the project because he wanted "to give son a superhero to look up to". The film will be released on February 12, 2021. During the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, Cretton self-isolated himself while awaiting testing per the request of his doctor, which temporarily suspended first unit production for Shang-Chi in Australia on March 12, 2020. The test came back negative.