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David Koepp

David Koepp

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Also Known As: Died:
Born: June 9, 1963 Cause of Death:
Birth Place: Pewaukee, Wisconsin, USA Profession: screenwriter, director, producer, script reader

Biography CLOSE THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

With his skill for writing character-driven blockbusters, screenwriter David Koepp emerged from his native Wisconsin to become one of the most consistent and highly-sought writers in the business. Thanks to several mega-hits under his belt, including "Jurassic Park" (1993), "Mission: Impossible" (1996) and "Spider-Man" (2002), Koepp also developed into one of the highest paid scripts doctors in Hollywood. Though just a small sample of his resume would account for several billion dollars of international box office take, Koepp has had his share of critical and financial failures, notably films he directed himself - "The Trigger Effect" (1996), "Stir of Echoes" (1999) and "The Secret Window" (2004). Regardless of such setbacks, Koepp managed to keep his name on the short list for the industry's top directors - namely Steven Spielberg, Brian De Palma and Sam Raimi - as their go-to writer for Hollywood's biggest summer movies, enhancing his reputation as perhaps the most successful A-list screenwriter of his generation.

With his skill for writing character-driven blockbusters, screenwriter David Koepp emerged from his native Wisconsin to become one of the most consistent and highly-sought writers in the business. Thanks to several mega-hits under his belt, including "Jurassic Park" (1993), "Mission: Impossible" (1996) and "Spider-Man" (2002), Koepp also developed into one of the highest paid scripts doctors in Hollywood. Though just a small sample of his resume would account for several billion dollars of international box office take, Koepp has had his share of critical and financial failures, notably films he directed himself - "The Trigger Effect" (1996), "Stir of Echoes" (1999) and "The Secret Window" (2004). Regardless of such setbacks, Koepp managed to keep his name on the short list for the industry's top directors - namely Steven Spielberg, Brian De Palma and Sam Raimi - as their go-to writer for Hollywood's biggest summer movies, enhancing his reputation as perhaps the most successful A-list screenwriter of his generation.

Filmographyclose complete filmography

DIRECTOR:

1.
2.
  Ghost Town (2008)
3.
  Secret Window, The (2004) Director
4.
  Stir of Echoes (1999) Director
5.
  Lost World: Jurassic Park, The (1997) 2nd Unit Director (2nd Unit)
6.
  Trigger Effect, The (1996) Director
7.
  Suspicious (1994) Director

CAST: (feature film)

1.
 Big Trouble (2002) Annoyed Sports Radio Host
2.
 Lost World: Jurassic Park, The (1997) Unlucky Bastard
3.
 Kevin Bacon: Am I Me? (2002) Interviewee
VIEW THE FULL FILMOGRAPHY

Milestones close milestones

:
Wrote plays and screenplays while attending the University of Wisconsin at Madison
:
Moved from his native Wisconsin to attend UCLA's film school in Los Angeles, CA
:
Worked as a script reader
:
Performed some writing assignments for independent producers
:
Met producer-writer-director Martin Donovan
:
Worked with Donovan as a co-writer on a writing project for an Italian producer
1988:
Feature writing and producing debut (with Donovan), "Apartment Zero"
:
Sold "Bad Influence" to Trans World Entertainment, an independent production company
1990:
First solo screenwriting credit, "Bad Influence"
:
Hired by Universal's Casey Silver Silver (now president of Universal) as an in-house contract writer
:
Met producer-writer-director Robert Zemeckis
1992:
Reteamed with Martin Donovan to co-write Robert Zemeckis's "Death Becomes Her"
1993:
Co-wrote the screenplay for Spielberg's "Jurassic Park"; first collaboration with Spielberg
1993:
Received screenwriting credit for "Carlito's Way"; first collaboration with director Brian De Palma
1994:
Made directing debut (also wrote) with the short "Suspicious"
1996:
Feature directorial debut, "The Trigger Effect"; also scripted
1999:
Directed (also wrote) Kevin Bacon in the horror film "Stir of Echoes"
2002:
Earned up to $4 million (for writing and producing) for the thriller "Panic Room"
2002:
Penned the feature adaption of "Spider-Man"
2002:
Created the CBS crime drama "Hack"
2004:
Directed and wrote the psychological thriller "Secret Window"
2005:
Re-teamed with Spielberg to write the film adaptation of "War of the Worlds"
2008:
Penned the fourth installment of the adventure series "Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull"
2008:
Co-wrote and directed "Ghost Town," starring Ricky Gervais and Greg Kinnear
2009:
Co-wrote (with Akiva Goldsman) the film adaptation of Dan Brown's novel <i>Angels & Demons</i>, directed by Ron Howard and starring Tom Hanks
2012:
Co-wrote screenplay of "Men in Black III," directed by Barry Sonnenfeld
2012:
Helmed the action thriller "Premium Rush," starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Michael Shannon; also co-wrote with John Kamps
VIEW ALL MILESTONES

Education

Kettle Moraine High School: Wales , Wisconsin -
University of Wisconsin at Madison: Madison , Wisconsin -
University of California, Los Angeles: Los Angeles , California - 1984

Notes

"I really get all my good ideas at stop lights. If I'm blocked, I get out and drive around in (Los Angeles) traffic because you have so much time to think if you don't turn on the radio." --David Koepp, publicity release for "Bad Influence" (1990).

"`We always wondered how `Night of the Living Dead' would have turned out if Noel Coward had written it,' says David Koepp, who with Martin Donovan wrote the script of `Death Becomes Her.' `One thing we never worried about was that anybody else would have our idea. We were pretty sure we were the only walking dead comedy.'" --David Koepp, publicity release for "Death Becomes Her" (1992).

"'Careers happen incrementally,' he [Koepp] replies. 'You meet someone, like Robert Zemeckis, who introduces you to someone else, like Steven Spielberg, There IS one turning point I can think of, though. Had I not gotten into UCLA film school, I probably wouldn't have come to Los Angeles.'"

"I ask this native son of Pewaukee, Wisconsin, 'what did you learn at UCLA?'"

"'In the film history classes, we'd see all the films of Stanley Kubrick and Billy Wilde, or Max Ophuls and Joseph Losey--who we called Awfuls and Lousy--and then we'd discuss them. That, to me, is a film education. The other stuff you can pick up on your own.'"

"'You mean the writing?'"

"'Yeah, you can read a few good books on screenwriting, and then you just have to write. You get better by doing it over and over.'" --From "The Sweet Sting of Success" by Jeffrey Lantos, MOVIELINE, March 1995.

"'Many "Jurassic" critics carped that the dinosaurs were more interesting than the people. How did that feel?'"

"'It stung,' he admits. 'A lot. I felt like saying, 'YOU try to write human characters in a dinosaur movie!'"

"'I could see that you tried to give Sam Neill a character arc...' I begin to say, but I'm cut off, mid-sentence, by Koepp."

"'You know, this character arc thing is spreading like a RASH,' he remarks. 'I don't know who laid down this law that movies have to be about people CHANGING. I don't know ANYONE who changes.' What would Koepp like to do about this trend? 'I say we mutiny and tell stories in a different way.'" --From Lantos, MOVIELINE, March 1995.

Companions close complete companion listing

wife:
Rosario Varela.

Family close complete family listing

uncle:
Claude Akins. Actor. Born in 1926; died in 1994.
brother:
Stephen Koepp. Magazine editor, screenwriter. Senior editor for TIME magazine; collaborated with Koepp writing "The Paper" (1994).
son:
Benjamin David Koepp. Born on February 1, 1994.

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