Producer-director-writer Matthew Vaughn initially made his mark as the man behind the scenes on films directed by friend Guy Ritchie only to eclipse that reputation when he assumed the director's chair for projects of his own. His collaboration with Ritchie began on the breakout U.K. independent hit "Lock, Stock & Two Smoking Barrels" (1999), followed by the similarly themed criminal caper "Snatch" (2001). Less successful was the change of tack the cinematic duo took with the reviled theatrical bomb "Swept Away" (2002), a romantic comedy starring Ritchie's wife, pop superstar, Madonna. Not to be outdone, Vaughn also landed a prize bride when he wed supermodel Claudia Schiffer in 2002. Taking the reigns on his next effort, Vaughn made his directorial debut with the crime thriller "Layer Cake" (2004), a film that shared similarities with Ritchie's earlier works, although with a decidedly more serious tone. After the movie became a surprise hit, offers poured in and the newly minted director took on the fantasy adventure "Stardust" (2007). Although the film was not quite the hoped for box office bonanza, Vaughn returned triumphant when he helmed "Kick-Ass" (2010), a violent superhero movie that performed well with genre fans. He stuck with the capes and tights crowd, moving on to the prequel "X-Men: First Class" (2011) as director and co-writer. Inarguably ambitious, Vaughn's experience as a producer and his demonstrated skill behind the camera made him one of the more formidable young Turks in early 21st century film.