David Ayer

David Ayer

David Ayer at the premiere of Fury at the Newseum in Washington D.C., October 2014.
Born (1968-01-18) January 18, 1968
Champaign, Illinois, United States
Occupation Film director, film producer, screenwriter
Years active 2000–present

Military career

Allegiance  United States of America
Service/branch  United States Navy
Years of service 1986–1988

David Ayer (born January 18, 1968) is an American film director, producer, and screenwriter. He is best known for being the writer of Training Day (2001), and the director and writer of Harsh Times (2005), Street Kings (2008), End of Watch (2012), Sabotage (2014), Fury (2014), and Suicide Squad (2016).

Early life

Ayer was born in Champaign, Illinois, on January 18, 1968, and grew up in Bloomington, Minnesota, and Bethesda, Maryland, where he was kicked out of his house by his parents as a teenager.[1] Ayer then lived with his cousin in Los Angeles, California, where his experiences in South Central Los Angeles became the inspiration for many of his films.[2] Ayer then enlisted in the United States Navy as a submariner.[3][4] According to Shia LaBeouf, who starred in Ayer's film Fury, Ayer is "a full subscriber to Christianity."[5]


Ayer's screenplay, Squids, was based on his experiences as a U.S. Navy Submarine sailor, and he also integrated those experiences from his service in the U.S. Navy into rewrites of the submarine thriller U-571. Ayer collaborated on the screenplay for The Fast and the Furious in 2001. Ayer wrote the screenplay for crime drama Dark Blue, and it was his research into the Los Angeles Police Department that led to his most prominent screenplay, Training Day. Ayer signed a contract to write a screenplay for S.W.A.T., which was based on his original story pitch. The film was directed by Clark Johnson and released in 2003.

Ayer's directorial debut was with the film Harsh Times, a drama set on the streets of South Central Los Angeles, showing how drug use and past military experiences affects people's attempts to lead normal lives. He then went on to direct the crime thriller Street Kings, which was released in 2008.

Ayer later wrote and directed End of Watch, a drama about the daily lives of two South Central Los Angeles policemen, played by Jake Gyllenhaal and Michael Peña. The film was released in the fall of 2012 to profitable box-office returns and favorable reception from critics, with Roger Ebert naming it as the fourth best film of 2012, hailing it as "one of the best police movies in recent years".[6] His next film was the crime thriller Sabotage, starring Arnold Schwarzenegger; the film was released on March 28, 2014. He wrote and directed the World War II-set film, Fury, starring Brad Pitt, Shia LaBeouf and Logan Lerman; the film was released in October 2014.[7]

Ayer wrote and directed the film adaptation of the comic book Suicide Squad, which was released on August 5, 2016. The film, along with Ayer's directing, received polarizing reviews. Critics were negative to mixed at best in their opinions, which included an accusation by the group Die Antwoord of " jacking their style". Despite this, it became his most commercially successful film to date.[8]

Ayer is next set to direct "a contemporary cop thriller, but with fantastical elements" titled Bright, which is set to star Will Smith and Joel Edgerton with a script penned by Max Landis that Ayer himself rewrote.[9][10] Netflix officially picked up the film for a $90 million deal.[11] Landis stated in an interview that official production is expected to begin in September 2016, but that they've already shot a small part in Los Angeles.[12]


Year Film Role Notes
Director Writer Producer
2000 U-571 Yes
2001 Training Day Yes Yes Cameo role: Russian Mafia hitman
The Fast and the Furious Yes
2002 Dark Blue Yes
2003 S.W.A.T. Yes
2005 Harsh Times Yes Yes Yes
2008 Street Kings Yes Cameo role: Gang member prisoner in L.A. County Jail
2012 End of Watch Yes Yes Yes
2014 Sabotage Yes Yes Yes
Fury Yes Yes Yes
2016 Suicide Squad Yes Yes
2017 Bright Yes Yes


  1. Simon, Jeff (October 17, 2014). "David Ayer's bumpy and brilliant road to Fury". The Buffalo News. Retrieved July 22, 2016.
  2. Carbone, Nick (September 21, 2012). "'End of Watch' Director David Ayer on Reinventing the Cop Genre". TIME. Retrieved July 22, 2016.
  3. Barnes, Henry (October 16, 2014). "David Ayer: 'There's something maternal about the tank in Fury'". The Guardian. Retrieved July 22, 2016.
  4. Gettell, Oliver (September 19, 2012). "David Ayer writes his own rules for the cop genre in 'End of Watch'". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved July 22, 2016.
  5. Mitchell, Elvis (October 20, 2014). "Shia LaBeouf". Interview. Retrieved July 22, 2016.
  6. Ebert, Roger (September 19, 2012). "End of Watch". Chicago Sun-Times. Retrieved February 21, 2013.
  7. Lesnick, Silas (May 1, 2013). "Logan Lerman Enlists for Fury". ComingSoon.net. Retrieved May 1, 2013.
  8. http://www.boxofficemojo.com/people/chart/?view=Director&id=davidayer.htm. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  9. Goldberg, Matt (March 2, 2016). "Will Smith and David Ayer Reteam for Bright with Joel Edgerton". Collider.com.
  10. Kroll, Justin (March 3, 2016). "Will Smith, David Ayer Reteaming on Max Landis Spec 'Bright'". Variety.
  11. Goldberg, Matt (March 18, 2016). "Netflix Makes Mammoth Deal for David Ayer's 'Bright' Starring Will Smith". Collider.com.
  12. "Watch: Max Landis Hopes 'Bright' Will Be His 'Star Wars'".
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