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Sheldon Turner

Sheldon Turner

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Birth Place: Profession: screenwriter

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Sheldon Turner brought back to the big screen the oft-forgotten art of stylish dialogue brimming with wit and heart in scripts that were at once light and dark; romantic and tragic. Flying under Hollywood radar until he discovered a novel by Walter Kirn that forever changed his professional life, Turner penned the film version of that novel called "Up in the Air" (2009), a highly acclaimed drama about a man who happily detaches himself from any emotional connection by living his life entirely on the road. Turner shared writing credits with the film's director, Jason Reitman, as well as an Academy Award nomination for Best Adapted Screenplay in 2010. The nomination was a first for Turner, a solid screenwriter whose early career was mired in second-rate comedies and the forgettable horror film "The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning" (2006). He redeemed himself with "Up in the Air," crafting a script that dazzled with dialogue that resonated with real people who experience real grief, anxiety and redemption during an economic recession. Turner's script was storytelling at its best and elevated his status as one of his generation's most original screenwriters.Sheldon Turner graduated from Cornell...

Sheldon Turner brought back to the big screen the oft-forgotten art of stylish dialogue brimming with wit and heart in scripts that were at once light and dark; romantic and tragic. Flying under Hollywood radar until he discovered a novel by Walter Kirn that forever changed his professional life, Turner penned the film version of that novel called "Up in the Air" (2009), a highly acclaimed drama about a man who happily detaches himself from any emotional connection by living his life entirely on the road. Turner shared writing credits with the film's director, Jason Reitman, as well as an Academy Award nomination for Best Adapted Screenplay in 2010. The nomination was a first for Turner, a solid screenwriter whose early career was mired in second-rate comedies and the forgettable horror film "The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning" (2006). He redeemed himself with "Up in the Air," crafting a script that dazzled with dialogue that resonated with real people who experience real grief, anxiety and redemption during an economic recession. Turner's script was storytelling at its best and elevated his status as one of his generation's most original screenwriters.

Sheldon Turner graduated from Cornell University before earning a law degree from New York University. Although he did pass the bar, instead of practicing law, he chose to pursue another more risky passion - writing - and his decision paid off in a big way. Throughout his career, he displayed ambition and a brazenness that typified most of his peers, yet even down to his writing style, he was a nonconformist. He was known to write in longhand first, eschew email, and write over 10 scripts before even sending one out. Turner first made waves with his script of the comedy remake "The Longest Yard" (2005) featuring Adam Sandler, Chris Rock and Burt Reynolds. Playing against type, Sandler was a former NFL quarterback who lands in jail after violating his parole and puts together a team of inmates, led by Rock's character, to play against the warden's men. The action-packed film received mixed reviews and critics were quick to point out the lack of character development across the board. Turner's script somehow failed to flesh out the characters, particularly Sandler's, who never came across as a believable hardened inmate or a football hero. Not surprisingly, Turner gave Rock the film's funniest and most memorable quips, but then threw his character out tragically at the end. Fresh off the mild success of "The Longest Yard," Turner wrote the slasher film "The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning" (2006), a pitiful prequel to the 2003 remake of the original film. Overall, the movie was met with negative reviews and while it delivered on blood and gore, many critics panned Turner's script for its incoherence and lack of edge-of-your-seat thrills and scares.

Turner quickly rebounded from all the negative press by penning the award-winning film "Up in the Air," a romantic comedy based on Walter Kirn's 2001 novel of the same name. He shared writing credits with cinematic wunderkind and the film's director, Jason Reitman. "Up in the Air" starred George Clooney, perfectly cast as Ryan Bingham, a ruthless yet very charming corporate executive who spends majority of his time living on airplanes and in VIP lounges and boutique hotels as he travels across the country firing people. The film also starred Anna Kendrick as Bingham's fast-talking protégé and Vera Farmiga as Bingham's female counterpart and love interest. Aside from the cast's stellar performances, it was Turner's script - laced with bitingly smart and witty dialogue - that helped the film rise above the rest and go on to earn Oscar nods for both the cast and writers the following year, though it would lose the Oscar to Geoffrey Fletcher's "Precious" (2009).

But seeing his vision on the big screen did not happen without incident. Amidst all the accolades surrounding "Up in the Air," rumors swirled that Reitman wanted to take solo credit for writing it. He made a claim that he had never even met Turner until after he finished shooting the movie, which was confirmed by both men. The controversy began when people assumed that Turner and Reitman worked on the script together. In reality, it was Turner who initially expressed interest in buying the rights to the screenplay. Immediately after reading the novel, he was instantly drawn to Bingham's character, a man who was actually happy firing people for a living. So captivated was he that he actually finished writing the adapted script before his team had even secured the rights to the novel. Kirn originally sold the rights to Fox 2000, however, the project was stalled for various reasons. Turner eventually owned the rights to the screenplay and sold it to DreamWorks, which contracted Reitman's father, Ivan, to direct the film. The younger Reitman took over and began the six-year process of rewriting the script. The Writers Guild of America stepped in to settle the score and decided that both writers would be given credit for adapting Kirn's novel. After the arbitration, Turner and Reitman attended a WGA event and acknowledged each other's work on the film. The result was a smartly written drama that incorporated elements of Turner's original script and a movie that millions connected with through its characters' various redemptions.

After the considerable buzz surrounding "Up in the Air" died down, Turner shifted his attention to writing the big screen adaptation of "The Town" (2010), starring Ben Affleck as Boston's most wanted bank robber. Affleck also directed the film, which was based on the crime novel The Prince of Thieves by Chuck Hogan. It also starred Jon Hamm and Rebecca Hall. In 2010, Turner had several writing projects in the pipeline, including the comedy "Kiss and Tell" starring Isla Fisher, the suspense thriller "Conspiracy of Fools" and the action-packed "X-Men Origins: Magneto," a film that Turner set between 1939 and 1955 as it follows Magneto trying to survive the Auschwitz concentration camp. He also began working on the script of the film version of "inFamous," a popular video game that centered on a bike messenger who, after surviving an explosion, suddenly discovers that he has electricity-derived super powers.

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CAST: (feature film)

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2005:
First produced screenplay, "The Longest Yard" remake starring Adam Sandler
2006:
Penned "The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning," a prequel to the 2003 remake of the horror classic
2009:
Co-wrote an adaptation of Walter Kirn's novel, "Up in the Air" with Jason Reitman, who also directed

Education

New York University: New York , New York -

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