Acclaimed writer-director Paul Haggis has been a fixture in television and film for over 25 years. In this wide-ranging interview, the Oscar-winning co-screenwriter, director, and producer of Crash (Best Picture 2005) discusses a three-decade career that led from writing for sitcoms like Diff'rent Strokes and The Facts of Life to his breakthrough screenplay for Oscar-winning director Clint Eastwood, Million Dollar Baby (Best Picture 2004).
Sheldon Turner is the prototype for the smart, brash, ambitious young screenwriter - but he's also got a law degree from NYU and has had his fiction published in the New Yorker. Turner recently broke through with his script for the 2005 remake of The Longest Yard, starring Chris Rock and Adam Sandler, and he has half a dozen other scripts in development. He's got insane discipline, writes longhand, and boycotts email.
"Interview with a workhorse"
There's no con more satisfying and lucrative than finding a way to make a living as a screenwriter. And Ted Griffin is a man who knows a good con. Anyone who tried to follow the clever criminal head games he built into his screenplays for Ocean's 11 and Matchstick Men knows not to trust this guy - except when he talks about screenwriting, which he does with great humor and insight in this enlightening interview.
David S. Goyer has a deliciously twisted mind. (They don't call him "The Prince of Darkness" for nothing.) And he knows how to bring comic-book characters and superheroes to kicking, screaming, vengeful life, as he did in The Crow: City of Angels, the Blade series, and Batman Begins.
Jim Uhls is not your average screenwriter. For one thing, his nickname is "Professor Peculiar". For another, as this exclusive off-kilter discussion of his craft demonstrates, Uhls is eager to break the first rule of Fight Club: He talks about Fight Club. A lot. That seminal film pushed every boundary possible for a studio movie, and Uhls' darkly funny script is a wickedly subversive example of how to successfully adapt an "unadaptable" book.
"A great thinker on the craft--"
Australian screenwriter Stuart Beattie is credited with having written the role no one ever thought they'd see Tom Cruise play: Vincent, the riveting homicidal hit man in Beattie's original screenplay, Collateral, directed by Michael Mann (The Insider, Heat). After 15 years in the business, Beattie has learned a thing or two about how to make characters and plots sing (or sting) on the page.
The blockbuster comedy writing team of Lowell Ganz and Babaloo Mandel has been making film and television audiences laugh for decades. In the early 70s, Ganz was writing for The Odd Couple while Mandel was receiving his first paychecks for work on M*A*S*H and Busting Loose. They both eventually landed on Happy Days, and when they followed actor-turned-director Ron Howard into feature films, the result was a frequent and fruitful creative partnership.
An accomplished writer, producer and director, Peter Tolan is probably best-known as co-creator of TV shows The Job and Rescue Me, and co-writer of Analyze This, and its sequel, Analyze That. He started his career on the writing staff of television sitcoms and then became a writer and producer on HBO's The Larry Sanders Show.
Peter and Bobby Farrelly have single-handedly - or rather, double-handedly - reinvented the comedy. Their films Dumb and Dumber, There's Something About Mary, Shallow Hal and Me, and Myself & Irene, have combined shocking-but-hilarious gross-out humor with sweet love stories, becoming blockbuster hits in the process.
Realizing at age 30 that he had missed his calling, Jonathan Hensleigh stopped practicing law to pursue screenwriting. And with his big break writing episodes of The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles for Steven Spielberg and George Lucas, his foray into the action-adventure genre began.
Jeff Nathanson is easily among the A-list of Hollywood screenwriters. His script for Catch Me If You Can earned him much critical praise, as well as the devotion of Steven Spielberg, who also brought him to work on his next movie, The Terminal. Nathanson has also collaborated with Jan de Bont on Twister and Speed 2: Cruise Control and with Brett Ratner on the Rush Hour films.