Declined the offer to direct Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (2007), citing that most of the creative decisions for the project had already been taken, and he would have had very little to add.

Member of the jury at the Venice Film Festival in 1995.

Declined the offer to direct Hellboy (2004) before Guillermo del Toro was involved.

Had been developing a big-screen adaptation of Life of Pi (2012) for years. He had written a draft of the screenplay and been location scouting in India with cinematographer Bruno Delbonnel, but eventually dropped out due to budget disagreements.

Spoke hardly any English when he made his American debut, Alien: Resurrection (1997). He had translators on the set at all times to interact with the cast and crew. Years later, he had learned enough English to record an English director's commentary for the movie, together with Sigourney Weaver.

He was thirty-eight years old when he directed his first feature film.