Mario Van Peebles believes there are three loves in your career: Love what you do, enjoy whom you do it with, and be passionate about what you say with it. Throughout his career, Van Peebles has often managed to do just that. From his first breakout hit NEW JACK CITY, to his most recent retelling of the historical ROOTS series, and his upcoming thriller ARMED Van Peebles has brought challenging, compelling material to the screen.
A graduate of Columbia University with a B.A. in Economics and recipient of an honorary doctorate from Hofstra University, Van Peebles worked for two years for New York's Department of Environmental Protection before moving to Hollywood to act, write, and direct.
His theatrical directing debut was the urban gangster hit NEW JACK CITY, which became Warner Brothers' most profitable movie of 1991. Van Peebles followed up by starring and directing his multi-cultural western, POSSE.
Mario then directed and produced PANTHER, while his father Melvin wrote and co-produced. PANTHER is the explosive story of the Black Panther Party's rise to power. The film became a political classic, earning both controversy and awards, including the Locarno Film Festival's Silver Leopard award.
Van Peebles received critical acclaim for his portrayal of political icon Malcolm X alongside Will Smith in Michael Mann's ALI. Mario followed up with BAADASSSSS! The odyssey about the making of his father's groundbreaking film SWEET SWEETBACK'S BAADASSSSS SONG. Mario produced, wrote, directed and starred as his filmmaker father doing the very same thing in 1971. "It was psychotherapy on celluloid" remarks Van Peebles. The film garnered strong critical acclaim including being one of Ebert and Roper's ten best movies of the year for 2004.
For three generations filmmaking has been a Van Peebles family affair. Mario got to team up with his kids to create the edgy coming of age film, WE THE PARTY.
In addition to directing and acting in features, Van Peebles is passionate about supporting education and eco-consciousness through media. His reality show, MARIO'S GREEN HOUSE, chronicled the Van Peebles family's often-humorous attempts to raise their eco-consciousness as they tried to go green in Hollywood. "We never got to the full green, more like Olive green," jokes Van Peebles.
With his edu-tainment short BRING YOUR "A" GAME, Van Peebles encourages young brothers to resist the pop culture of anti-intellectualism and educate themselves beyond conventional academics. His documentary FAIR GAME?, explores such topics as the prison industrial complex as a form of modern day slavery, and eco-apartheid.
In 2017 Mario co-created, wrote, directed, and starred in the 'Netflix' Syfy series SUPERSTITION. He next completed production on his upcoming feature film ARMED which he also wrote, directed, and starred opposite Ryan Guzman, William Fichtner, Jemma Dallender, Dionne Warwick, Melvin Van Peebles, and Van Jones.
When not doing features, Van Peebles directs and sometimes acts in award-winning shows such as BLOODLINE, BOSS, DAMAGES, LOST, HAND OF GOD, and EMPIRE.