Born in Rome, Italy, James Antonioni Merendino moved to the United States when he was six years old, where he lived first in New York City and then Salt Lake City. His father, a Doctor, his mother coming from an Italian film family, James was encouraged to pursue the trade of his mother's family.
At 16 he returned to Rome to study Theology and Philosophy. Upon graduating and having worked in several films in Italy as an actor, he chose to stop using his full name, "In order to make a name" for himself. He moved to Hollywood and directed his first B movie. Over the next ten years he made one film a year and after wide spread acceptance in festivals, he gained a reputation for making cutting edge, complex films many that have gone on to win awards at Cannes and Venice.
Never content with his reputation as an 'indie auteur', James began to work toward his goal of making studio films that would reach large audiences. Then, seven years into his career, James made a film called _SLC Punk! (1999)_. The film won numerous awards in the states and became a widely recognized cult film, the first step toward helping James reach his ultimate goal.
Soon several studios began to pursue him with large scale budgets and he realized it was time. A death in the family caused James go back to his full name, feeling confident that he had already made a name for himself without any help. He chose to write and direct a film that would appeal to a larger audience. _Trespassing (2003)_, a horror film, gained a reputation of being the most frightening film made in years.
James Antonioni Merendino lives both in Hollywood and Rome.