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Who Is Emmy Hottie Cary Joji Fukunaga? 11 Things You Need to Know About the 'True Detective' Winner

Elizabeth Durand Streisand
Yahoo TV
August 26, 2014

Who Is Emmy Hottie Cary Joji Fukunaga? 11 Things You Need to Know About the 'True Detective' Winner

Elizabeth Durand Streisand
Yahoo TV
August 26, 2014
LOS ANGELES, CA - AUGUST 25: Director Cary Joji Fukunaga attends the 66th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards held at Nokia Theatre L.A. Live on August 25, 2014 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - AUGUST 25: Director Cary Joji Fukunaga attends the 66th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards held at Nokia Theatre L.A. Live on August 25, 2014 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images)

Before Monday night, True Detective director Cary Joji Fukunaga was largely unknown, but the moment he stepped on stage to accept the Emmy for Outstanding Director in a Drama Series, all that changed. And, by "all that changed," we mean hearts swooned. Turns out, in addition to being serious talented, the 37-year-old is also really, really good-looking.

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Still, there's more to Fukunaga than an Emmy and a set of chiseled cheekbones, which is why we've rounded up the most interesting and important things that everyone should know about their new celebrity crush, from his hair to dating a certain former Oscar nominee.

1. He's well educated. Cary attended college at the University of California at Santa Cruz — where he completed a Bachelor of the Arts in history — and later earned his MFA in directing from New York University's prestigious Tisch School of the Arts.

2. He's multicultural. Fukunaga was born in 1977 in Oakland, California, to a Japanese father and a Swedish mother. He is also fluent in two romance languages: Spanish and French.

3. He puts some thought into his hairstyles. Cary has sported everything from flowing locks to a man-bun to last night's fancy braid, and he considers the situation before deciding on his look. In fact, he's been credited with wearing one of the "first" man-buns, a few days before Jared Leto helped popularize it.

Asked about his motivation for what turned out to be the night's most talked-about hairstyle, he revealed to Vulture, "For tonight, I just thought business in the front, party in the back." We couldn't have described it better ourselves. Also, we'd like to attend that party.

NEW YORK, NY - JULY 21: Director Cary Joji Fukunaga attends the Very Good Girl premiere at Tribeca Grand Hotel on July 21, 2014 in New York City. (Photo by Andrew Toth/FilmMagic)
NEW YORK, NY - JULY 21: Director Cary Joji Fukunaga attends the Very Good Girl premiere at Tribeca Grand Hotel on July 21, 2014 in New York City. (Photo by Andrew Toth/FilmMagic)

4. Before True Detective, he directed movies. Though he's receiving accolades for his work in television now, he started out directing films, including the critically acclaimed Sin Nombre (which he developed at the famous Sundance Institute Feature Film Program) and 2011's Jane Eyre, starring Mia Wasikowska and Michael Fassbender.

5. He counts Maggie and Jake Gyllenhaal's mother, Naomi Foner, among his mentors. Fukunaga and Foner met back when he was developing his first feature film, the aforementioned Sin Nombre, at the Sundance Lab, and the two have remained close ever since. "She was an adviser of mine," he explained during an interview with Vulture in 2012. "She's just sort of, like, this amazing woman. So now I write screenplays and she's writing screenplays, so we go to movies together and talk about movies. I look to her for advice." (Foner was working on the script for Very Good Girls at the time, and, in a show of support, Fukunaga helped host a New York screening of that film when it opened this summer.)

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6. He's a romantic at heart. Just because most of his projects err on the darker side doesn't mean Cary is immune to the sweeter things in life. In fact, he sounds like he's pretty much mastered the art of romantic gestures. "I've scoured for mourning jewelry, put pieces together that have matched from around the world; I've given lost lockets as gifts," he revealed in a 2011 interview with Vulture. "I've written immense love letters that are supposed to be opened over days at a time. I used to always make art for girls. That was the thing I did for girls to like me. I did portraits, drawings, letters that formed outlines of significant things in our relationship. Art. I just used art in general. It usually worked."

Michelle Williams and Cary Fukunaga on June 6, 2011 (PacificCoastNews.com)
Michelle Williams and Cary Fukunaga on June 6, 2011 (PacificCoastNews.com)

7. He dated Michelle Williams. Back in the summer 2011, the Oscar nominee and Cary were spotted hanging out and holding hands near the actress's Brooklyn abode. Though their romance proved to be rather brief, it still makes us kind of want to give her a high-five.

8. He likes horses. During a 2011 interview with the Huffington Post about Jane Eyre, the director revealed how much he enjoyed working with horses on the set. "I wish more people used horses for transportation," he explained before admitting, "I'm looking for a film that I can direct from horseback." Still, he realized that might not be the best idea. "That would be a little galling for the crew, probably. Carrying a sword might be too much. Maybe just a riding crop."

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9. He's a pretty good athlete. Yep, he's athletic too. Back before he broke into the movie biz, the aspiring director was a competitive snowboarder.

10. He doesn't own a TV. That's correct. The guy who just won the Emmy for directing a TV drama series does not own a television.

11. He isn't directing the next season of True Detective. Despite his wild success with Season 1, Fukunaga will not be back to direct Season 2 of the hit drama (though he will stay on as an executive producer). While there were rumors that his departure was due to conflict with Nic Pizzolatto, the series creator has denied any trouble in paradise. The good news, however, is that Fukunaga has been busy directing his war drama, Beasts of No Nation, and has a remake of Stephen King's It in the works — and if either of these films charm the critics... we might get to watch him accept more awards.