Peter Hyams (b. 1943; picture, on the set of “Narrow Margin”) is a very accomplished, all-round and versatile filmmaker who debuted at age 28 as screenwriter-producer of “T.R. Baskin” (1971), a fascinating drama about a small-town girl, played convincingly by Candice Bergen, who tries to make it in Chicago. An impressive debut for Mr. Hyams who from then on began directing his own screenplays – the crime drama “Busting” (1973) starring Elliott Gould being his first feature as a director – and later on, he also became the cinematographer of his own pictures.
The filmmakers who manage to write, shoot, direct and occasionally also produce their own films, they are very rare. On top of that, Mr. Hyams goes from one star-studded movie set to another, with films to his credit such as the underestimated “Fat Chance” (1976), set in the 1940s, starring Michael Caine and Natalie Wood; “Capricorn One” (1978), a four star action thriller about the first manned flight mission to Mars which turns out to be a hoax, with Elliott Gould and James Brolin; “Hanover Street” (1979), a World War II romantic drama set in London with Harrison Ford as an American soldier and Lesley-Anne Down as a married British nurse (along with a superb score by John Barry); “Outland” (1981) with Sean Connery as a police Marshall on a Jupiter moon, or “The Star Chamber” (1983) with Michael Douglas as a young judge who is drawn to a secret judicial society as an alternative to, what he initially believes, set things right.
Mr. Hyams’s list of all noteworthy film credits goes on and on; we haven’t mentioned his “2010” (1984, remake of Stanley Kubrick’s 1969 screen classic “2001: A Space Odyssey”), or “The Presidio” (1988), again with Connery teaming with Mark Harmon who have to solve a murder in San Francisco’s Presidio Army Base, and “Narrow Margin (1990) starring Gene Hackman as an assistant D.A. who is trying to protect a murder witness, played by Anne Archer.
All of those films illustrate the craftsmanship of Mr. Hyams which he demonstrated all the way up until “Enemies Closer “ (2013), while in between he made films with Arnold Schwarzenegger (“End of Days”, 1999), Catherine Deneuve (“The Musketeer”, 2001) and Michael Douglas (“Beyond a Reasonable Doubt”, 2009). Currently, he’s working on a new project, something to look forward to since it is coming from a man with such an incredible amount of talent and courage, with a strong instinct for taking chances and who is most familiar with the established wisdom of the movie business.
Mr. Hyams, I understand that you have an artistic and politically engaged family. To what extent did that influence you in your formative years?
Very much so. I started art school when I was about 7 years old, became fascinated with photography and studied photography. I was never going to be a civilian, I was going to be an artist of some kind, and I began writing from the time I was very young. My family was blacklisted, so politics was and is a huge issue in my life, and I initially thought that the best way to amalgamate politics, the world around me and film, was documentary film. So I started to work at CBS news for almost seven years in the 1960s, and then I left because at one point, I became more interested in taking a photograph that was interesting, than having a photograph that was factual. I did not believe that a camera was a recording device: I always thought of it as a paint brush. And I wanted to write something that was interesting, funny, sad – whatever – rather than something that was accurate. Really good documentary directors capture a moment, and when you are doing a film, you are making the moment, and that became my passion.
So that’s how and why you entered films at a very young age, in your late twenties? How did your first screenplay “T.R. Baskin” (1971) come about?
It came about because I quit my job and wanted to make films. I was a complete idiot, because I had no idea what I was up to. I had a wife and two babies. And to my wife, being as wonderful and supportive as she was – and is – I said I wanted to make films. We all moved in with my parents-in-law. And when I looked at a script that my father-in-law had, I needed to know the form, you know, about the dialogue, the description, things like that. I firmly believed you write it and then somebody makes it. And so I wrote it, and Paramount bought it. They wouldn’t let me direct it, but they hired a very big director at that time, Herbert Ross, and I produced it. After that, I knew I was never going to write for anybody else again.
When you began working in films, what was it like back then? It was the end of the studio era, and in the meantime a lot of young filmmakers were starting – there was you, Peter Bogdanovich, William Friedkin, Mark Rydell, Francis Ford Coppola, Spielberg, Scorsese, all young people with new and fresh ideas. Was it an exciting period? Did a lot of doors open pretty easily for you?
I think the only thing that opens doors for you, is that people like your work, if they like your idea if you can make things inexpensively. It’s different now, it’s a different industry, it’s really not an industry that interests me as the studio system. It doesn’t interest me in making enormously profitable films based on comic books. I stopped reading comics when I stopped going to Summer camp.
From the early start in your career, you have been wearing various hats simultaneously: you are a writer, a director, a cinematographer. Was that an easy combination? And up until now, you’re still doing all of them?
Well, I find it much easier, it saves a great deal of time. You know, when you write a film, you kind of see it, you hear it; you tend to write what you see and hear. And I’ve said this before, photography is a language and if you learn that language, you can do it. I just wanted to photograph the way I drew. And on the set it’s really a pleasure for most actors… When directors are waiting for the set to be relit, they’re in my experience not in deep discussions with their actors about a lot of things. They tend to be in their trailers, on the phone with their agents, for example. I don’t take the break, I am there so the crew likes it because there’s one voice, actors like it because you can explain what’s going on and why, and I give actors a tremendous amount of freedom, because I like their performances. So we’ll see where we’re going to be, and rehearse the scene a couple of times. Sometimes an actor says, ‘I want to get up at this point and move,’ and I’ll say, ‘Okay, let’s try that.” Once we get that down, I light the set and I’m pretty fast because I’m pretty specific as well, and we do it. It’s really that simple.
Isn’t it a bit of a risk to combine all those key jobs yourself? Aren’t you breaking some kind of unwritten rule to be a screenwriter, a cinematographer and a filmmaker at the same time?
Yes, but in the first place, nothing is more of a risk than making a movie. Period. You’re not afraid of a risk, or if you still are, you still do things because that’s what making a film is. Secondly I did upset the Photographers Guild, the Union, they didn’t want to let me in until about thirty years ago, but they don’t like me very much. I have known two of the most prominent cinematographers, Conrad L. Hall [1926-2003] and Haskell Wexler [1922-2015]. Connie called me one day and said, ‘You have made some very complicated films, why don’t you join the ASC [American Society of Cinematographers]?’ I said, ‘Because they hate me.’ He said, ‘That’s absolutely ridiculous. If Haskell Wexler and I sign your application, will you join?’ I said, ‘Of course!’ So they signed my application, I went over there, and was interviewed. Forty-eight hours later, a letter arrived at my house, and it said – it’s right here, it’s framed – ‘Dear Peter, the Board of Governors at this time rejected your application for active membership in the ASC. However your application may be reconsidered at a later day. We would like to thank you for your consideration and for taking the time to come before the Committee meeting and we wish you a very successful 1996.’ So I’m of the very few people the ASC has ever rejected, I will never be nominated for cinematography, the ASC magazine which always talks about which films are coming out, they never mentioned me. Maybe when I’m a very old man, all those people who were there won’t be around anymore and they’d want me. But I got slapped in the face pretty hard once, that’s about it. And I am not on the ASC.
What about Steven Soderbergh? He’s in the same position as you are?
Well in the first place, I set the precedent, I think I’m the first director to become a cinematographer. Quite a few cinematographers have become directors, most have failed. And Steven, among other things, did it very quietly, and he’s an Oscar winner! You can’t treat an Oscar winner that way. And he’s great, he’s absolutely great! He just did an entire television series: he wrote, directed and shot every episode.
Yes, that’s true: he’s an amazing filmmaker. But if you look at your work, that’s astonishing as well: for many decades now, you have been a very accomplished filmmaker of many top rated and complicated visual action films.
Well, thank you. I scuffled along and lasted long enough. However there are several great filmmakers and I don’t belong in that category. I’m a working stiff. I mean, look at Soderbergh, or Charlie Kaufman, the Coen brothers, Ridley Scott for goodness sake, David Fincher, Steven Spielberg, James Cameron – those men are phenomenal! There’s a guy named Bill Russell, he played short stop for the Los Angeles Dodgers for years and years. I am kind of like Bill Russell: he never was the most valuable player, never won a batting title, but he played ball for a very long time.
When you are writing a screenplay, do you have certain actors in mind when you are creating the characters?
No, never. You start with blank pages, or a blank screen, and you create the character, you form and describe the character, you write the words that will come out of that character’s mouth. It’s your character, but the moment you cast it, it’s no longer your character. The character belongs to the actor then, and quite often I will cast a woman in a role that was originally written for a man, just because the character changes. I once made a movie called “Running Scared”  with Billy Crystal and Gregory Hines. If you see the film, you can’t imagine anyone else playing those two roles: the characters belong to them. When I cast Gregory, the studio said, ‘Well, the part was not written for a black man.’ I said, ‘Well, he’s not playing a black man, he’s playing a man.’ So you write, but as soon as you cast, the characters are not yours anymore.
You never edited one of your films. Now, with your background as a jazz drummer, do you think that might help you if you were to edit?
No, because I think it is most helpful to have a completely objective opinion, so I like having another opinion, I like the arguments in the editing room, and I like being surprised. I have a very fast meter in my head, I always tighten a film, I would take too much out. Normally a director wants more of his film in, I want less. I have worked with wonderful and talented editors.
Like your son John, for example, who edited your film “Enemies Closer” ?
He’s brilliant: he’s a brilliant editor and a fabulous director. I wish I had the talent that he has. I am working on something now, and if by then the moon is in the proper place, and if it happens, he’ll work with me again. We did it one time; during that film, he had his birthday and I gave him a really nice watch. On the back, I had engraved, ‘Happy birthday, boss.’
Sir Carol Reed said, ‘Making a film is all work, all worry, all fear and all heartache. Not making a film is worse.’
How would you describe the process of filmmaking? Do you have a definition for it?
I once described the process of filmmaking as a year of preparing, and a year of recovering from fifty to sixty days of shooting. I know this sounds strange, but if you do action sequences, you have to storyboard them, everybody has to know what’s going to happen about every single thing, it requires enormous preparations. And on non-action sequences with a few people in a room talking, I think you can actually over prepare. I like going though this stage not knowing exactly what I am going to do, and see where the actors go, let them feel where they want to go, unless it’s photographically mandatory that somebody sits in a certain place. But I like to give actors as much freedom as possible. The best description of filmmaking I have ever heard – I’ve had it on my wall for thirty years – is from Sir Carol Reed, who was one of the greatest directors who ever lived. He said, ‘Making a film is all work, all worry, all fear and all heartache. Not making a film is worse.’ That’s very fascinating, he just always tried to get it better. Look at Ridley Scott; he has set the template for how science fiction films are going to look forever, I still think “Alien”  is the best science fiction film ever made, and it’s the same guy who did “Thelma and Louise”  and “Gladiator” . That’s amazing: you just try to get better each time. I want to be as good as the people that I think that are good, however it’s very difficult to really get there. You just keep trying.
Do you enjoy watching you own films?
I don’t watch them. Never. I will see flaws. All I see, is what I did wrong, that’s very painful.
I am amazed to hear that, especially since you are so good at making dramas, thrillers, films in outer space,… For example, you were not afraid to make a sequel to “2001: A Space Odyssey” and “2010” turned out to be a marvelous film. Looking back, wasn’t that a career risk?
Sure, I was terrified and kept saying no, and finally I had said that I would only make it if [author] Arthur C. Clarke and [“2001” director] Stanley Kubrick approved me. I had very long talks with both of them. I told Arthur I would make some very big changes because he wrote his book with the Americans and the Russians who were very friendly and happy, while I wanted the political situation of the day, remember it was made in 1984 during the Reagan administration. Every day, I sent pages to Arthur in Sri Lanka as I wrote them. I also had a lot of questions for Stanley, and he was great! I remember our first phone call, when he would decide if he’d approve me or not, we talked a lot about technical things because he was a photographer too, and they wouldn’t let him in the union in England, so he knew my struggle. He kept on asking me a lot of technical questions, how I did this or that shot. At the end of this three hour phone talk, I asked him, ‘Mr. Kubrick, I would like to know if you approve me doing “2010”.’ He said, ‘Sure, of course!’ And then I was sitting with Arthur one day, when he came to Washington – I actually used him as an extra in one shot, as a man sitting on a park bench, eating out of a paper bag – and I asked him, ‘What was it like for you when you first met Kubrick?’ And he said, ‘Well, we spoke for almost three hours, I told him everything and he told me nothing.’ And that’s exactly what happened to me too. But Kubrick was very gracious and very nice, and he kept on saying, ‘Make sure you make your own film.’ But you cannot compare me to Stanley Kubrick; it’s like comparing a mouse to an elephant – you can’t compare me to one of the greatest directors ever. So I tried to lessen the comparisons when making “2010”, which was so different from “2001” in spirit and so different physically, in dialogue, in every possible way, that you simply can’t compare the two films.
You were a pioneer in your own way, because “2010” [nominated for five Academy Awards] was one of the first films to use CGI, isn’t it?
Yes, I think we used the first CGI shot to matt every single cloud formation on Jupiter. They all moved independently of each other. We then took that and put it into what was then the largest computer in the private sector which really looked like something out of “2001” and took up a whole room. To put Jupiter on film, it took the computer ninety seconds a frame, that’s a long time.
By the time you made “2010”, you had been an established filmmaker for quite a number of years. Would it be correct to say that “Capricorn One”  was the film that put you on the map?
Did you get any reactions from NASA when preparing or shooting “Capricorn One”?
If they had any comments, they didn’t make them public. The NASA people came, we got the drawings, and we actually built the most accurate ascent and descent stages of the lunar landing model in the world. NASA people came down to look at it and they were quite fascinated. You know, this whole space program, the on board computer on Apollo 11 was the equivalent of the Casio pocket calculator, the on board computer on the Shuttle was 250 MB – you couldn’t get a computer that’s 250 MB, I don’t think you can even get a phone now of 250 MB. But I think for me the most dramatic moment was the realization, after all the drawings I had done, the writing process, the casting process – everything – when production designer Albert Brenner and I opened the sound stage the first day we were going to shoot on the set with lunar landing model standing there on the surface of Mars. I think we pretty close to perfectly replicated the color of the sand, and the entire sound stage was filled with what looked like Martian soil, with the NASA landing spacecraft. We opened the door of the sound stage, very early in the morning, we were the only two people there, the stage lit up, and I saw my dream. And then Albert motioned me over to one of the corners and I looked at the Martian soil, and there were little paw prints on it, they went right over to the back of the landing module, all across the Martian surface. A cat had been there and it took a dump on our Martian surface. That moment I learned you’d better not take yourself too seriously. So Albert Brenner and I were not the first ones to be on the set.
When you made that film, you had the technical aspect to look after, the acting, the space element… What was your main concern?
Trying to make everything as believable and as logical as possible, trying to make the movie work as a good thriller. Whatever is in the air, somehow or other, when a movie is going to be a hit, the audience wants it to be a hit and participates in being it to be a hit – even before they see it. I remember when “Capricorn One” had opened and I went to the theatre when it was in its second week, the lines were around the block. I went in, introduced myself to the theatre manager and I asked, ‘Can I just stay in the back and watch the film, and see how the audience reacts?’ So I was in the back, people started coming into the theatre and they were ready. They wanted it to be good, and when the lights went down, they applauded when the Warner Brothers logo appeared on the screen. When the first frame of the film came on, they cheered. By that time, I had actually begun to think that I was pretty good. And when the film began, I began watching it and I thought, ‘Oh God, this is my film, this is my shit. This looks like my stuff, not somebody else’s stuff.’ I really thought that the audience would tear me to pieces if they found out that I was in the theatre. So I got up, left the theatre and went home. My wife said, ‘What’s the matter? I thought you were going to see the film?’ I said, ‘They’re gonna kill me.’ I had these images of people coming in my street with torches, like you see in the original “Frankenstein” movie. Since then, I never looked at my stuff again. I look at it over and over again when I’m editing, so I know the movie. But when there’s a premiere, I kind of know when the big reactions are supposed to come, so I sit in the lobby and when I know there should be a big laugh or a scare – whatever you expect them to be – I open the door of the theatre a little bit so I can hear the reaction. When I have heard it, I then close the door and sit again in the lobby. That’s what I do.
Are you aware of how powerful your cinematic vision is? When you look at a film like “Narrow Margin”  and you may have seen the original 1952 film version a week before, you totally forget about that when you’re watching yours.
Well, thank you, but what you like about “Narrow Margin” is Gene Hackman. I have to say, watching Gene Hackman is one of the great pleasures in film.
That’s right, but he’s in your film and it’s your work. Aren’t you overlooking your contribution as a filmmaker and cinematographer to this wonderful piece of cinema? Also when looking at “Outland”  or “The Star Chamber”  and so many of your movies, it only takes five minutes to realize, ‘This is going to be very good!’
Well, when I see five minutes, I go. You know, we previewed “Outland” in Texas, and afterwards I flew home with the Warner Brothers jet with Alan Ladd, Jr., the head of the Ladd Company – we made the film for his company, and working with him was great – and he said, ‘I would really like to do your next film.’ I said, ‘Well, what I would really like to do, is “Outland” because I finally figured out how to do it.’ And that’s how I felt: if I could just do it again, I would do it so much better. If they would have let me, I would have done it again. There’s no film that I’ve made when by the end of the film, that I haven’t thought, ‘Ah, I think I can do this properly now, if they’d let me start again.’ I think the actors wouldn’t believe what they’d hear, but that’s the way it is.
One of your first films was “Fat Chance” with Michael Caine and Natalie Wood. You were a young filmmaker while they were established stars. What was that working experience like?
Well, the film was unsuccessful, except that I got to make it with those two great people. It was a comedy and a period movie. I thought I would try something different, so I got a guy [Guy Marks] who did a great Humphrey Bogart imitation and I started the film in an alley: you can’t see his face, just this guy, his hat and his trench coat. He takes out a cigarette, a wooden match, he lights his cigarette and you see his face. He looks like Bogart, he talks the opening credits, and then the camera moves away. I remember sitting there during a preview and I heard people sitting in front of me saying, ‘I thought he was dead!’ And I remember thinking, ‘Oh no, that’s not the reaction I wanted to get!’ (Laughs.) But there was no one in the world nicer than Michael Caine and Natalie Wood. They were great, great people to work with, and you just got great stories all the time. They were the best – I love most of the people I have worked with. I remember when we were shooting “Fat Chance,” one day, it was late in the day, the crew was getting tired, and Natalie – a very serious actress, so beautiful – had come out of her trailer to do a scene. The whole crew watched her, and I said, ‘Nat, you start here and when you get to that spot, you turn around and you say your line.’ And she said, ‘What’s my motivation for turning there?’ You could see the whole crew thought, ‘Oh, no!’ And I said, ‘Well, that’s all the track we have. If you keep on walking, you’d be out of the shot.’ And Natalie turned to me and said, ‘I think I feel it.’ That’s what I mean, those people are just the greatest to work with.
How do you cast your actors?
Well, leading actors are different from all the other actors. Leading actors are very important and everybody has the same list. Sean Connery could do “Outland”, but so could another actor. However, Sean Connery was at the top of the list. And I don’t think I chose Sean Connery, he chose me. When it comes to casting all the smaller parts, the parts that don’t require studio approval, I first look at stills, do look at the faces and then, quite often, I put them on tape to watch them later on. You want texture from people, you want the film to have texture. Not everybody can be handsome, not everybody can be beautiful, it doesn’t work that way. I’ve heard people complain about actors, and I always say to them, ‘Well, if you want obedience, get a puppy.’ My sister [Nessa] was a great casting director. She cast pictures for Warner Brothers, pictures for Mike Nichols, for William Friedkin, etc. She was very smart. When I was casting “Outland”, for the part of the doctor I had a Charles Durning type of actor in mind, he was always so wonderful. My sister read the script and said to me, ‘Cast Frances Sternhagen to play the doctor.’ And I did and she brought something to it that I hadn’t thought of, she made the character different. Directing is like conducting a controlled myopia: everybody thinks they’re in the centre in many ways. There’s an old joke about a dayplayer who gets to be a doorman in “The Godfather”. One day he’s at a friend’s house who asks him, ‘What are you doing?’ ‘Well, I am in “The Godfather” now.’ ‘Wow, what’s it about?’ And he says, ‘It’s about this doorman…’ That’s what you want. A wonderful actor named Robert Walden came up to me when I was very busy during “Capricorn One”. He said, ‘What if I put a band-aid on my glasses?’ And I said, ‘That’s great, Bobby!’ But I thought, ‘Who gives a crap.’ I was too busy, you know, and I totally forgot about it. Six months later I was sitting in the editing room and I was looking at his work in the film, thinking, ‘Robert Walden was such a wonderful choice!’ He did something to his character, I wouldn’t have thought of that in a million years. At the time I thought he was just interrupting me. I once talked to James Cameron about it and said, ‘My goal is to be the dumbest person on my set.’ A goal by the way that I’ve achieved (laughs). I like to around smart people, people who come up with ideas that you wouldn’t have thought of. That’s how things get better, I want a film to be better than I am.
But on the other hand, there’s only one captain on the ship and that captain is you, isn’t it?
Yes, that’s why you’re conducting. You’re not the composer, you’re the conductor.
But in your casting process, you did cast Harrison Ford in the World War II romantic drama “Hanover Street”  at a time when everybody knew him as Han Solo.
Well, it doesn’t take a nuclear physicist to look at a young Harrison Ford and know he was going to be a gigantic star. Look at DiCaprio when he was starting, or look at Jennifer Lawrence. She’s still so young and such a great and wonderful actress.
But casting him in a romantic drama while he was known as an action hero, that was pretty unexpected?
I don’t know, making a film is always a risk, you know. I mean, not when you’re making “Iron Man 4”, but with all the other films you take a risk. “Brokeback Mountain”, that’s taking a risk. Made by a wonderful Ang Lee who came from “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon” [2000, a.k.a. “Wo hu cang long”]. It’s incredible! And when I mentioned great directors, I think I forgot maybe the greatest living director, Alfonso Cuarón. To make “Y tu mamá también” , “Children of Men” , or “Gravity” … When [screenwriter] Charlie Kaufman did “Being John Malkovich” , that was also a huge risk he was taking.
When looking at your work as a cinematographer and locations that you use, recently I saw “Enemies Closer” again, and there’s your incredibly beautiful photography which is set in the woods at night…
…you’ve got it. I mean, that’s about as difficult as it can get, while the picture was shot in twenty-four days. It was very complicated and ambitious stuff. That, and a building with a lot of windows, high up, you try to avoid that, because the light is going to change all the time. Small spaces are difficult too. Somebody once wrote about me that I am known for using natural light. And I thought, ‘Where do you find natural light on a sound stage?’ Because that’s what I like: I like building stuff. “Outland” for example was entirely shot on a soundstage, I loved it. But some locations are very beautiful, so in that case you go on location.
Do you the final word in every decision when you’re making a film?
Yes. The script arguments are over before you start shooting, but on the other hand, you don’t have to win everything. If I am really in doubt about it and an actor wants to try something different, my answer is, ‘Okay, we’ll shoot the way I want, and then we’ll shoot it the way you want, and we’ll look at it together.’ I love actors. It takes incredible courage to do what they do, so I only want to create a place where they can feel very brave, and the braver they feel, the more chances they’ll take. One of the advantages that I have as a cinematographer, is that actors know I want to make them look good. There’s a certain chemistry about that.
Los Angeles, California
February 3, 2016
T.R. BASKIN, UK title: A DATE WITH A LONELY GIRL (1971) DIR Herbert Ross PROD – SCR Peter Hyams CAM Gerald Hirschfeld MUS Jack Elliott ED Maury Winetrobe CAST Candice Bergen, Peter Boyle, James Caan, Marcia Rodd, Erin O’Reilly, Jane Alderman
BUSTING (1974) DIR – SCR Peter Hyams PROD Robert Chartoff, Irwin Winkler CAM Earl Rath MUS Billy Goldenberg ED James Mitchell CAST Elliott Gould, Robert Blake, Allen Garfield, Antonio Fargas, Michael Lerner, Sid Haig, Ivor Francis, William Sylvester
OUR TIME (1974) DIR Peter Hyams PROD Richard A. Roth SCR Peter Hyams, Jane C. Stanton CAM Jules Brenner MUS Michel Legrand ED James Mitchell CAST Pamela Sue Martin, Parker Stevenson, Betsy Slade, George O’Hanlon Jr., Karen Balkin
FAT CHANCE, a.k.a. PEEPER (1976) DIR Peter Hyams PROD Robert Chartoff, Irwin Winkler SCR W.D. Richter (novel ‘Deadfall’ by Keith Laumer) CAM Earl Rath MUS Richard Clements ED James Mitchell CAST Michael Caine, Natalie Wood, Kitty Winn, Michael Constantine, Thayer David, Timothy Carey, Liam Dunn, Don Calfa, Margo Winkler
TELEFON (1977) DIR Don Siegel PROD James B. Harris SCR Peter Hyams, Stirling Silliphant (novel by Walter Wager; excerpts from a poem by Robert Frost) CAM Michael C. Butler MUS Lalo Schifrin ED Douglas Stewart CAST Charles Bronson, Lee Remick, Donald Pleasence, Tyne Daly, Alan Badel, Patrick Magee, Sheree North, Frank Marth
CAPRICORN ONE (1978) DIR – SCR Peter Hyams PROD Paul N. Lazarus III CAM Bill Butler MUS Jerry Goldsmith ED James Mitchell CAST Elliott Gould, James Brolin, Brenda Vaccaro, Sam Waterston, O.J. Simpson, Hal Holbrook, Karen Black, Telly Savalas, David Huddleston
HANOVER STREET (1979) DIR – SCR Peter Hyams PROD Peter Hyams, Paul N. Lazarus III CAM David Watkin MUS John Barry ED James Mitchell CAST Harrison Ford, Lesley-Anne Down, Christopher Plummer, Alec McCowen, Richard Masur, Michael Sacks, Patsy Kensit, John Ratzenberger
THE HUNTER (1980) DIR Buzz Kulik PROD Mort Endelberg SCR Peter Hyams, Ted Leighton (book by Christopher Keane, Ralph Thorson) CAM Fred J. Koenekamp MUS Michel Legrand ED Robert L. Wolfe CAST Steve McQueen, Eli Wallach, Kathryn Harrold, LeVar Burton, Ben Johnson, Richard Venture
OUTLAND (1981) DIR – SCR Peter Hyams PROD Richard A. Roth CAM Stephen Goldblatt MUS Jerry Goldsmith ED Stuart Baird CAST Sean Connery, Frances Sternhagen, Peter Boyle, James B. Sikking, Kika Markham, Clarke Peters, Steven Berkoff, John Ratzenberger
THE STAR CHAMBER (1983) DIR Peter Hyams PROD Frank Yablans SCR Peter Hyams, Roderick Taylor (story by Roderick Taylor) CAM Richard Hannah MUS Michael Small ED James Mitchell CAST Michael Douglas, Hal Holbrook, Yaphet Kotto, Sharon Gless, James B. Sikking, Joe Regalbuto, Don Calfa, Diana Douglas
2010 (1984) DIR – PROD – CAM Peter Hyams SCR Peter Hyams (novel by Arthur C. Clarke) MUS David Shire ED James Mitchell, Mia Goldman CAST Roy Scheider, John Lithgow, Helen Mirren, Bob Balaban, Keir Dullea, Madolyn Smith, Dana Elcar, Taliesin Jaffe, Arthur C. Clarke, Candice Bergen [voice only]
RUNNING SCARED (1986) DIR – CAM – EXEC PROD Peter Hyams PROD Lawrence Turman, David Foster SCR Garry DeVore, Jimmy Huston (story by Jimmy DeVore) MUS Rod Temperton ED James Mitchell CAST Gregory Hines, Billy Crystal, Steven Bauer, Darlanne Fluegel, Joe Pantoliano, Dan Hedeya, Jonathan Gries, Jimmy Smits
THE MONSTER SQUAD (1987) DIR Fred Dekker PROD Jonathan A. Zimbert EXEC PROD Peter Hyams SCR Fred Dekker, Shane Black CAM Bradford May MUS Bruce Broughton ED James Mitchell CAST Andre Gower, Robby Kiger, Stephen Macht, Tom Noonan, Brent Chalem, Ryan Lambert, Ashley Bank
THE PRESIDIO (1988) DIR – CAM Peter Hyams PROD D. Constantine Conte SCR Larry Ferguson MUS Bruce Broughton ED James Mitchell, Diane Adler, Beau Barthel-Blair CAST Sean Connery, Mark Harmon, Meg Ryan, Jack Warden, Mark Blum, Dana Gladstone, Jenette Goldstein
NARROW MARGIN (1990) DIR – CAM Peter Hyams PROD Jonathan A. Zimbert SCR Peter Hyams (screenplay of NARROW MARGIN  by Earl Fenton; story by Martin Goldsmith, Jack Leonard) MUS Bruce Broughton ED James Mitchell CAST Gene Hackman, Anne Archer, James B. Sikking, J.T. Walsh, M. Emmet Walsh, Susan Hogan, Nigel Bennett
STAY TUNED (1992) DIR – CAM Peter Hyams PROD James G. Robinson SCR Tom S. Parker, Jim Jennewein (story by Tom S. Parker, Jim Jennewein, Richard Siegel) MUS Bruce Broughton ED Peter E. Berger CAST John Ritter, Pam Dawber, Jeffrey Jones, David Tom, Heather McComb, Bob Dishy, Joyce Gordon, Eugene Levy
TIMECOP (1994) DIR – CAM Peter Hyams PROD Sam Raimi, Moshe Diamant SCR Mark Verheiden (story by Mark Verheiden, Mike Richardson; comic series by Mark Verheiden, Mike Richardson) MUS Mark Isham ED Steven Kemper CAST Jean-Claude Van Damme, Mia Sara, Ron Silver, Bruce McGill, Gloria Reuben, Scott Bellis, Jason Schombing, Scott Lawrence
SUDDEN DEATH (1995) DIR – CAM Peter Hyams PROD Howard Baldwin, Moshe Diamant SCR Karen Baldwin, Karen Elise Baldwin MUS John Debney ED Steven Kemper CAST Jean-Claude Van Damme, Powers Boothe, Raymond J. Barry, Whittni Wright, Ross Malinger, Dorian Harewood, Kate McNeil
THE RELIC (1997) DIR – CAM Peter Hyams PROD Gale Ann Hurd, Sam Mercer SCR Amy Holden Jones, John Raffo, Rick Jaffa, Amanda Silver MUS John Debney ED Steven Kemper CAST Penelope Ann Miller, Tom Sizemore, Linda Hunt, James Whitmore, Clayton Rohner, Chi Muoi Lo, Thomas Ryan
END OF DAYS (1999) DIR – CAM Peter Hyams PROD Armyan Bernstein, Bill Bordon SCR Andrew W. Marlowe MUS John Debney ED Steven Kemper, Jeff Gullo CAST Arnold Schwarzenegger, Gabriel Byrne, Robin Tunney, Kevin Pollack, CCH Pounder, Derrick O’Connor, David Weisenberg
THE MUSKETEER (2001) DIR – CAM Peter Hyams PROD Moshe Diamant SCR Gene Quintano (novels by Alexandre Dumas) MUS David Arnold ED Terry Rawlings CAST Catherine Deneuve, Mena Suvari, Stephen Rea, Tim Roth, Justin Chambers, Bill Treacher, Daniel Mesguich, David Schofield
A SOUND OF THUNDER (2005) DIR – CAM Peter Hyams PROD Moshe Diamant SCR Thomas Dean Donnelly, Joshua Oppenheimer, Gregory Poirier (story by Thomas Dean Donnelly, Joshua Oppenheimer; short story by Ray Bradbury) MUS Nick Glennie-Smith ED Sylvie Landra CAST Edward Burns, Catherine McCormack, Ben Kingsley, Armin Rhode, Heike Makatsch, Jemina Rooper, David Oyelowo, Wilfried Horchholdinger
BEYOND A REASONABLE DOUBT (2009) DIR – CAM Peter Hyams PROD Mark Damon, Limor Diamant, Ted Hartley SCR Peter Hyams (screenplay and story of BEYOND A REASONABLE DOUBT  by Douglas Morrow) MUS David Shire ED Jeff Gullo CAST Jesse Metcalfe, Amber Tamblyn, Michael Douglas, Joel David Moore, Orlando Jones, Lawrence Beron, Dina Merrill
ENEMIES CLOSER (2013) DIR – CAM Peter Hyams PROD Moshe Diamant, Orlando Jones, Bobby Ranghelov SCR Eric Bromberg, James Bromberg MUS Tony Morales ED John Hyams CAST Jean-Claude Van Damme, Tom Everett Scott, Orlando Jones, Linzey Cocker, Christopher Robbie, Zachary Baharov
ROLLING MAN (1972) DIR Peter Hyams PROD – SCR Steven Karpf, Elinor Karpf CAM Earl Rath MUS Stuart Margolin, Murray MacLeod ED Donald W. Ernst, Dick Wormell CAST Dennis Weaver, Don Stroud, Donna Mills, Sheree North, Slim Pickens, Agnes Moorehead, Linda Gaye Scott
GOODNIGHT, MY LOVE (1972) DIR – SCR Peter Hyams PROD Ward Sylvester CAM Earl Rath MUS Harry Betts ED James Mitchell CAST Richard Boone, Michael Dunn, Barbara Bain, Victor Buono, Gianni Russo, John Quade, Walter Burke