Started out as an actor in the National Theater of Iceland and then directed several critically and commercially acclaimed plays in the Reykjavík Theater circuit during the 90s.
In 2000, he wrote, directed, acted in and produced the feature film “101 Reykjavik” which became an international art house favorite and earned the Discovery Award at the Toronto International Film Festival. Subsequently, Variety selected him as one of the “10 Directors to Watch,” along with Alejandro González Iñárritu, Lukas Moodysson, Christopher Nolan and other newcomers at the time. Soon after, Kormákur started his own production company and since then has maintained his focus on feature film writing, producing, and directing. His films “101 Reykjavik”, “The Sea,” “A Little Trip To Heaven,” “Jar City” and “White Night Wedding” have all been very successful in Iceland, and won numerous international awards.
Kormákur’s “The Deep,” which eerily captures the tragic real-life story of the lone survivor of a capsized fishing boat off the frigid Icelandic coast, premiered at the 2012 Toronto International Film Festival and went on to become Iceland’s Oscar nominee and was shortlisted (one of 9 films) for the foreign language Academy Award.
Kormákur also has directed features in the United States, including “Inhale”, starring Dermot Mulroney, Diane Kruger and Sam Shepard, “Contraband,”starring Mark Wahlberg, Ben Foster, and Kate Beckinsale, which took first place at the US box office during its opening weekend, early January 2012. Kormákur repeated his US box office success by topping the charts in the summer of 2013 with “2 Guns,” starring Denzel Washington and Mark Wahlberg. In 2015 his movie, “Everest,” got critical success as well as commercial, earning over a $ 200 million worldwide. In 2016 Kormákur ventured into television with his unique ten part crime series, Trapped, a huge success all over Europe and other parts of the world. 2016 also saw his Icelandic Noir drama “The Oath”come to the surface.