The Next Wave: Ben Younger, Chelsea Pictures

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30-year-old Ben Younger believes he's finally come into his own since his overnight success in 2000 with the The Boiler Room, on which he claims he had been a neophyte. "I felt like I had to keep a tighter grip on the reigns than I needed to, but more from ego than from protecting the project," he recalls. "I couldn't believe what I was doing and I was sort of waiting to be found out." Currently the director's juggling three promising cinema projects,including a Ron Howard rewrite, but he's certainly grateful for the indispensable training he's gotten from commercials. The director's chair is starting to feel more like a cozy La-Z-Boy thanks to skills refined, no doubt, on commercial projects like Fallon's BMWFilms' subplots and spots for SunCom that develop character through V.O.'s that rattle over quirky scenes of a gesturing hand or hair falling from a barber's chair. "I'm not passionate about selling product," he admits. "But advertising's a great tool for me. I get a ton of technical information from spots, studying film stocks, lenses, lighting." Younger's recent golf-themed commercial for Price Waterhouse-Cooper, out of Hill Holliday demonstrates his newfound control of the reigns, now that he's learned to loosen his grip. Instead of going drill sergeant on his actors, he took them out for a round of the game. "I wanted to see what would come of the group dynamic. Who would surface as a leader, the comedian? After that the personalities just jumped out at me and I wrote the script in relation to what I saw. It worked out really well."
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