Jonathan Liebesman was born in Johannesburg, South Africa on September 15, 1976. He would remain in his home country, studying filmmaking at the South African School of Motion Picture Medium and Live Performance, until 1996; that year, he traveled to New York City to visit his cousin who was attending New York University. Soon after the visit, Jonathan enrolled at NYU's Tisch School of the Arts.
For his student first film, Jonathan turned Roald Dahl's short story Genesis and Catastrophe (2000) into a 8-minute, award-winning short that help him land Hollywood representation; accolades included the 2000 Hollywood Film Festival's Young Filmmaker Award and the Austin Film Festival's Student Short Film Award.
Jonathan would make his feature-film debut in 2002 with Darkness Falls (2003), a dark twist on the Tooth Fairy tale that opened at #1 at the box office despite being critically panned. It also served as the big-screen debut for Emma Caulfield Ford, long a fan-favorite as Anya Jenkins on Buffy the Vampire Slayer (1997).
Rings (2005), his short film that connected The Ring (2002) and its sequel, was first released as a bonus disc with the re-release of The Ring on DVD. The short caught the attention of Michael Bay and his production company, Platinum Dunes, and soon Jonathan was installed as the director of the company's project The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning (2006), a prequel to The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (2003), the widely successful remake of the original.
Initially announced as the director of the Friday the 13th reboot, Jonathan's next feature would instead be The Killing Room (2009) with Peter Stormare, Chloë Sevigny, Clea DuVall, Timothy Hutton, Nick Cannon and Shea Whigham. The psychological thriller played the festival circuit before being released on DVD in the United States.
A few months before The Killing Room's Sundance world premiere in January 2009, Jonathan was announced as the director of Battle Los Angeles (2011), an alien-invasion film starring Aaron Eckhart and released by Columbia Pictures. The sci-fi/action film was a worldwide hit and put Jonathan in the running for a handful of big-studio pictures.
Before Battle LA's release, he had handed the job of directing Odysseus as Warner Bros., though that project remains in development at this time. Instead, Jonathan took the reins for Wrath of the Titans (2012), the sequel to successful but maligned Clash of the Titans (2010).
Currently, Jonathan is in development on Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2014) at Paramount and an Untitled Julius Caesar Project with Warner Bros.