Gus Van Sant
From The Art and Popular Culture Encyclopedia
His early career was devoted to directing television commercials in the Pacific Northwest. Openly gay, he has dealt unflinchingly with homosexual and other marginalized subcultures without being particularly concerned about providing positive role models.
His filmography as writer and director includes an adaptation of Tom Robbins' novel Even Cowgirls Get the Blues, which features a diverse cast (Keanu Reeves, Roseanne Barr, Uma Thurman, and k.d. lang, with cameos by William S. Burroughs and Heather Graham, among others); and My Own Private Idaho, also starring Reeves as well as the late River Phoenix (Van Sant also planned to direct a biographical film about Andy Warhol with Phoenix in the lead role, but canceled the project after Phoenix's death). He is perhaps best known for directing Good Will Hunting.
As an actor, Van Sant has appeared in a cameo on screen in Kevin Smith's Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back playing himself. In the movie, he is counting wads of money which was made during Good Will Hunting. As an added joke, they were filming a fake sequel to the movie, called "Good Will Hunting 2: Hunting Season".
He has written the screenplays for most of his early movies, and has written one novel, Pink.