USC Cinematic Arts

Jim Bissell began his career as a motion picture production designer on Steven Spielberg’s enduring classic “E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial,” and was nominated for a BAFTA Award for Best Production Design.  He later reunited with director Spielberg on the films “Always” and “Twilight Zone,” and producer Spielberg on “Harry and the Hendersons”  and “”Arachnophobia.”

Over his 35 year career he has collaborated with directors such as John Schlesinger (“The Falcon and the Snowman”),  Ridley Scott (“Someone to Watch Over Me”), Joe Johnston (“The Rocketeer” and “Jumanji”) and Ron Shelton  (“Hollywood Homicide” and “Tin Cup”).   Early in his career, Bissell won an Emmy Award for Outstanding Art Director for a Television Series for his work on “Palmerstown, U.S.A.”  which was produced by Norman Lear and Alex Haley.   More recently he was honored with nominations from the Art Directors Guild for his work on Zach Snyder’s “300” and “The Spiderwick Chronicles.”  In all, he has served as Production Designer on close to 30 films.

Bissell is also known for his collaboration with director George Clooney, starting with Clooney’s feature film directorial debut “Confessions of a Dangerous Mind.”  This was followed in 2005 with “Good Night, and Good Luck,” and continued with the 2007 release of “Leatherheads.”  “Good Night, and Good Luck” garnered Art Direction nominations from both the Art Directors Guild and the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, as well as a Satellite Award for best Production Design.  He is currently in pre-production on Clooney’s fifth directorial effort, “Monuments Men.”

From 2008-2009 he worked with animation director Brad Bird to develop “1906”, a story set in San Francisco during the earthquake and fire of that same year.  When Bird decided to direct the next installment of the “Mission Impossible” franchise, Bissell joined him.  After “Mission: Impossible –Ghost Protocol”, he worked with Tom Cruise and Paramount Pictures again on writer/director Chris McQuarrie’s  “Jack Reacher”.

He has been a guest lecturer at USC, AFI and the North Carolina School of the Arts and is a former instructor at the UCLA School of Continuing Education.  Bissell is a past vice president of the Art Directors Guild and is on the Board of Governors of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.  He holds a BFA in Theater from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.